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rrj 4vTQ\r) del irapa^rpeiv eavrovs, clXXct fj.rj rots 










THE object of this book is to present a sketch of a 
notable man who lived in notable times. The author 
was attracted to the task not by the consciousness of 
possessing all the requisite qualifications, but rather 
by the belief that some work of the kind was wanted ; 
in that Theodore of Studium is well worth knowing, 
and that very few English people have, as yet, had 
much opportunity of knowing him. It is earnestly 
hoped that those who read through this book will 
realise how, in this one life, were focussed many 
great historical tendencies which gave their character 
to the churches and the civil societies of the Middle 
Ages. But beyond this they will, it is hoped, profit 
by being brought nearer to one who, with all the 
faults over which no veil is here thrown, had in him 
the elements of real greatness. The fascination of 
Theodore s character has been felt by most of the 
historians of that period, even by some who have had 
the minimum of sympathy with his religious principles. 
The sources are indicated in the footnotes. The 
chief original authorities are, of course, the works 
of Theodore himself and the Byzantine chroniclers, 
especially Theophanes 1 and his Continuator. Of the 
editions of Theodore s works some account is given 
in the Appendix at the end of the book. 

1 For convenience sake, I give references to the Bonn edition of 
Theophanes rather than to the superior recent edition of De Boor. 


With regard to the general history of the period, 
it is pleasant to be able to name three Englishmen 
whose works are of the highest value : Finlay, whose 
" History of Greece " has been re-edited by Mr. Tozer ; 
Dr. Hodgkin, whose researches into this period chiefly 
relate to Western affairs, but who illuminates any 
branch of history which he has occasion to touch 
upon; and Professor J. B. Bury, who, in his "History 
of the Later Roman Empire," and still more in his 
invaluable notes to Gibbon, has done very much for 
those who desire to study both the times of Theodore 
and Theodore himself. 

Of smaller monographs, those on Theodore by 
Dr. Carl Thomas and Dr. G. A. Schneider have been 
found very useful. Dr. K. Schwarzlose s Bilderstreit 
is a most luminous study of the whole iconoclastic 
controversy. Schlosser s Bildersturmende Kaiser is 
still useful, but more valuable for the purposes of 
the present work has been the little treatise, De Studio, 
of Abbe Marin. 

The writer has to thank Dr. Edwin Freshfield, of 
the Mint, Chipstead, for the beautiful photographs of 
portions of Studium as it now is, and of the Golden 
Gate, and also for the loan of some very helpful 
books ; and Dr. Kenyon, of the British Museum, for 
permission to reproduce a part of a page of a Studite 
Psalter (facing p. 146). She has also to thank her 
brothers, Professor Percy Gardner of Oxford, and 
Professor Ernest Gardner of London, for help in re 
vising the proofs. 

CAMBRIDGE, August 1905. 




Kuins of Studium Character of the Monastery Time of Theo 
dore s Birth England Western Europe The East Isaurian 
Emperors Beginnings of Iconoclastic Controversy Civilisa 
tion of Eastern Empire i 


Earliest Biographies of Theodore His Parentage Character of 
his Mother Education : Question of the Byzantine Academy 
Did he learn the Classics ? Position in Byzantine Society His 
Uncle, Plato Changes in Imperial Policy as to Icons Theo 
dore and his Family retire from the World . . . .14 

NOTES: The two Lives of Theodore and the Brethren of 

Photinus 29 


Life in or near Saccudio Early Rule of Eastern Monasteries Re 
lations with Plato Complications of East and West Policy of 
Irene Council Proposed Difficulties and Tumult Adjourn 
ment to Nicsea Proceedings Decree in Favour of Icons 
Subsequent Difficulties Italian War Theodore ordained Priest 
Assertion of Principle 31 


Monastic Revival Theodore made Abbot of Saccudio Intrigues of 
Irene Constantine VI. sole Emperor His Second Marriage 
He tries to win the Studites Unsuccessful Negotiations 
Exile Letter to Plato Overthrow of Constantine Restora 
tion of the Monks 50 




Kenioval from Saccudio to Studium Foundation and Early History 
of the Monastery Theodore s Reforms Letter to Nicolas on 
Monastic Discipline Monastic Officials Calligraphy Regula 
tion of Life Spirit of Theodore s Rule Catecheses ... 66 

APPENDIX : Translation of Two Catechetical Discourses . . 89 


Events leading to Coronation of Charles the Great Position of 
Pope Leo III. Relation of Events in East to those in West 
Intentions of Charles, especially towards Eastern Emperors 
Matrimonial Project Irene s Difficulties Her Deposition 
Accession of Emperor Nicephorus Question as to Non-inter 
vention of Studites Policy of Nicephorus : in West ; as to 
Constantine VI. ; as to the Patriarchate Plato and Theodore as 
Champions of the Ecclesiastical Power Appointment of Nice 
phorus to Patriarchate Protest of Studites Reconciliation . 93 

NOTE on the Death of Constantine VI. . . . .113 


Ecclesiastical Policy of Emperor Nicephorus Restoration of the 
Priest Joseph, opposed by Theodore Arguments Negotiations 
Second Exile of Theodore He repels charge of Schism 
Appeals to Pope Nicephorus killed in Bulgarian War 
Return of Studites Death of Abbot Plato . . . .115 


Unfortunate Reign of Michael Rhangabe Theodore s Influence 
Charles acknowledged Emperor Negotiations with Bulgarians 
Their advance Michael deposed and succeeded by Leo V. 

Leo s Government He renews the Iconoclastic Policy His 

Supporters John the Grammarian Conference The Patriarch 
Nicephorus deposed Theodore s Palm-Sunday Demonstration 
Third Exile. Letters I3 o 




Theodore a8 Theologian His Views as to Church Authority 
Theological Importance of Iconoclastic Controversy Theodore s 
Personal Attitude Manichseism and Monophysitism Dis 
tinction between worship and honour Educational use of 
Pictures Mystic View of Images Nominalism Superstitions 
Three Elements in Controversy Theodore s Antirrhetici 
His Doctrinal Letters Platonic View of the Universe Studite 
Feeling as to the Humanity of Christ 148 


Conflict between Church and State Mitigations of Theodore s 
Sufferings Changes of Prison Scourging and Privation 
His Letters to Studite Monks; to Communities and Private 
Persons ; to the Pope and Patriarchs The Pope s Letter to 
Leo V. Murder of Leo Theodore s Triumph . 169 


Character and Accession of Michael II. Theodore s Efforts for 
Restoration of Icons : Letters to Patriarch, Ministers, Emperor, 
&c. Theodore approaches Constantinople Change of Patri 
archs Michael gives Audience Theodore withdraws to 
Crescentius His Correspondence with Empress Maria With 
Empress Theodosia, &c. Rebellion of Thomas : Theodore 
recalled to Studium Thomas put down Saracen Wars 
Michael s Negotiations with Emperor Lewis and the Pope 
Collatio of Paris Reference to it by Theodore ? Images in 
Prankish Church Works of Dionysius brought to the West . 187 


Character of Theodore s Letters in General Letters of Condolence 
Of Advice On Moral Questions On Prayer On Depression 
To Irene and Euphrosyne, Abbesses To Casia On Christian 
Doctrine For Reclamation of Theoctistus His Testament 
His Death and Burial His Character 208 

APPENDIX : Theodore s Correspondence with Casia . . .226 




Attention of Studites to copying of MSS. Introduction of Minus 
cule Writing Theodore s probable Share Theodore s Iambics 
His Hymns Nature of Ecclesiastical Metres in the East 
Their Growth Pitra s Discovery The Canon Canons and 
other Verse attributed to Theodore 230 

APPENDIX : Renderings into English of some of Theodore s 

Poems: (i) Iambics; (2) Church Hymns .... 245 


Theodore s Influence on Posterity Circumstances which led to the 
Restoration of the Icons Orthodoxy Sunday Loss of Hopes 
of Ecclesiastical Unity Final Breach Its Connection with 
Studium "With the Name of Theodore Abbots and Monks 
of Studium after Theodore Permanent Value of Eastern 
Monasticism 253 

INDEX ... .279 





JOHN OF THE STUDIUM To face page 10 







BY THE TURKS) ,, 174 


ST. JOHN 220 






IN the south-west corner of the city of Constantinople, 
near to the Seven Towers and the Golden Gate, stands 
the Mosque called MirAchor Djami, formerly the basilica 
of St. John of the Studium. Few passing travellers 
know of its existence, and even archaeological explorers, 
seeking, as a rule, either the purely classical or the 
purely oriental, have given it but little attention. The 
hour will soon be too late, as both the Church and 
the remains of the monastic buildings adjoining are 
speedily disappearing, and in the words of a recent 
traveller, " it seems certain to perish in a few years 
if nothing is done." Yet those who have studied 
the beautiful early capitals, with the rich and delicate 
acanthus foliage and the crossing cornucopias, and 
have admired the proportions of the Church whence 
the marble pavement and the tasteful decorations have 
long since been removed, 2 cannot acquiesce readily in 

1 W. H. Button, " Constantinople," p. 234. 

2 A few beautiful capitals have been brought to England by Dr. Edwin 
Freshfield and placed by him in the Church of the Wisdom of God, 
Lower Kingswood, Surrey. See illustrations p. 10 and p. 174. 



this loss to all lovers of early Christian art. To 
those who know even a little of the history of the 
Monastery and of those who dwelt in it, the dese 
cration and neglect may seem matter for regret but 
hardly for surprise. For it only reflects the compara 
tive indifference with which, at least till recent times, 
not only the reading public in general but the whole 
academic world has regarded the post-classical period 
of Greek history. Yet that period comprises the 
early developments of Christian doctrine and monastic 
discipline in regions which, after all, were near to 
their original home. And both from the point of 
view of the ecclesiastical investigator and of the more 
general historian, the part played by Studium is by 
no means contemptible. It has well been called " the 
Clugny of the East." Yet in some ways, Studium 
has rendered even greater services to the Church and 
the world than were accomplished by Clugny. Like 
Clugny it became the parent of many centres of religious 
life and arduous labour ; like Clugny it maintained 
the cause of spiritual authority against material force ; 
but it had a task greater from an intellectual stand 
point than any which fell singly to any particular 
monastery of the West, in keeping alive the torch of 
ancient learning. If neither Clugny nor Studium 
escaped from exaggerations in the pursuit of their 
ideals, it is surely now time to estimate aright the 
services rendered by both and the constancy shown 
in both to the causes which claimed their devotion. 

It is not, however, with the general history of 
Studium that we are at present concerned. That 
history had begun very long before the times during 
which the subject of this biography lived, nor did 
his connection with it begin early in his life even 


in his active life. In fact, to his biographers it may 
seem an additional proof of his strongly-marked char 
acter that a place in which he spent comparatively 
little of his laborious life became afterwards so closely 
associated with his memory that the Studium of earlier 
days, great and rich as it must have been, has merged 
its historical interest in that of a community of which 
it was in no sense the parent. The origin and char 
acter of the Monastery will concern us when we come 
to the beginning of Theodore s rule and the influence 
of which it became the centre. At present we will 
attempt to discriminate the leading features of the 
period when Theodore first saw the light, and which 
made up the physical and social environment of his 
earlier days. 

Theodore, commonly called the Studite, was born 
in Constantinople in 759 A.D. It may be allowed 
that the general indifference to the study of the early 
Middle Ages, especially to that of Eastern Europe, 
before the ninth century, if not justifiable, is more 
or less explicable. The reader is confused by weari 
some spectades of palace intrigues, monotonous wars, 
hair-splitting theological controversies seasoned by 
bitter personal venom, and he finds in the East few 
if any men of power to give interest and significance 
to the current of events. But, on the other hand, 
he finds after every time of unusual depression, a lift 
ing of the clouds, the advent of a stronger dynasty 
or a new policy which wards off immediate dangers, 
and gives the Empire a new lease of life. For if in 
other things Byzantium was the daughter of Eome, 
she was pre-eminently so in that peculiar recuperative 
power which won for the City the title of " Eternal." 
Headers of Roman history are puzzled to account for 


the fact that so cumbersome a vessel, with so many 
defects in construction, should have weathered so many 
storms. But from early times onward, ever and anon, 
when foes without and dissensions within had seemed 
likely to bring about a final destruction, some able man 
or some fortunate conjunction of men and circumstances 
had effected, if not a regeneration of the state, a re- 
adaptation to altered conditions. So had it been more 
than once before the days of Augustus ; so again in 
his time ; in that of Diocletian and Constantine ; in 
that of Justinian ; later on, in the days of Heraclius 
and in those of Leo the Isaurian. Permanent success 
was granted to none of these re-organising emperors. 
Yet the work accomplished in each case was a service 
to human civilisation. For the Empire was through 
many ages the only guardian of Helleno-Roman culture 
against the untamed barbarism of the North and the 
organised fanaticism of the East. 

The leading questions to be thought out, worked 
out, or fought out during the latter part of the eighth 
century and the succeeding period, and also the 
champions of rival causes, were on a larger scale and of 
more general interest than those of the two centuries 
preceding. This becomes manifest if we take a most 
cursory glance at the chief events happening about the 
time of Theodore s birth. England will not concern us 
in our present studies, but we may notice that England 
was coming more into the stream of European progress, 
since just then Offa of Mercia seemed to be attaining 
that superiority over the other kings in Britain which 
afterwards passed over to the West Saxons, and the 
same Offa, while doing something towards the creation 
of a united English nation, was also tightening the 
bonds between England and Rome. Again, it was 


about four years before Theodore s birth that the 
Englishman Boniface was slain in the midst of his 
missionary labours on the continent labours that 
indicated an aspiration after a united Christendom, and 
helped to bring about a lasting result through tem 
porary failure. In Western Europe, Pippin the Frank 
was at that moment fighting against the Saracens in 
Spain, and by his victories, in conjunction with the 
remains of the Visigothic people, wresting Narbonne 
from the Mohammedans, and thereby restricting their 
power to the regions south of the Pyrenees. Five 
years previously, in 754, Pippin, on receiving the rite 
of coronation at the hands of Pope Stephen II., had 
exchanged the title of Mayor of the Palace for that of 
King of the Franks, and two years later he had made 
that arrangement in Italy which was the beginning of 
the temporal power of the Papacy. For in the year, 
which, as Dr. Hodgkin 1 has pointed out, almost exactly 
corresponds with the date on the other side of our 
era of the foundation of Rome, the Power which, in 
spite of changes in situation and in constitution, still 
claimed to hold the undying authority of the " Respub- 
lica," had lost all hold on Italy by the fall of the 
exarchate of Ravenna into the hands of the Lombards 
(751 A.D.). The Lombards were speedily to be ousted 
by the Frank, who at first conquered not for himself 
but for the successor of St. Peter. But the emperors, 
especially those of the strong Isaurian dynasty that 
began with Leo III., were not likely to view so 
serious a loss with equanimity. Whether Italy and 
the Empire would be permanently loosened from the 
ties, both secular and spiritual, which had bound them 

1 " Italy and her Invaders," Vol. VII. book viii. ch. viii. p. 164. 


together was still an open question in the early days 
of Theodore. 

For these events in the West were closely connected 
with movements which began in Theodore s native city 
of Constantinople, and which largely determined the 
character both of his mind and of his fortunes. At 
this time, as we have already seen, the Empire was 
making successful resistance to external foes and to 
internal disorders. Constantine V. (Copronymus or 
Caballinus), who had been reigning for nineteen years 
when Theodore was born, was pursuing the general 
lines struck out by his father, Leo III., first of the 
Isaurian house. It was Leo who effected a brilliant 
repulse of the Saracens from the walls of Constantinople 
in 718 A.D. ("really an ecumenical date," as Professor 
Bury remarks), 1 since from this time forth the great 
Omeyyad dynasty declined in power, and Christendom 
was saved from immediate danger. Leo and Constan 
tine were constantly carrying on war with the Saracens 
in Asia, and, speaking generally, they were successful. 
At the same time the Bulgarians were constantly in 
vading Thrace ; and in the year of Theodore s birth, 
Constantine suffered a defeat at their hands, which was 
adequately avenged a few years later. 

We have again to reckon Leo and Constantine among 
the later Roman legislators or codifiers. The Ecloga, a 
compendium of the laws to be acknowledged in public 
and private life, was published in 740, and was accom 
panied by codes relating particularly to military, 
agricultural, and naval matters respectively. The 
Isaurians were careful administrators, and looked them 
selves into the financial details of the Empire with a 
view to accuracy and economy. 

1 " History of the Later Roman Empire," vol. ii. p. 405. 


Strange indeed must it seem that men of such clear 
heads, with great organising faculties, patient in 
carrying out their designs, apparently conscientious in 
the discharge of their duties, free to all appearance 
from either petty scruple or misleading sentimentalism, 
should have superfluously embarked on an enterprise 
which well-nigh cost them their power in the ancient 
home of their empire, and which aroused an opposition 
to their policy among the ablest thinkers and most 
capable workers of those who owned their sway. 

The bearings of the Iconoclastic Controversy on 
the whole life of the time, the conflicts which it 
involved among theological conceptions and practical 
principles, will concern us much in the course of our 
inquiries. The origin must remain obscure. Here 
we will merely point out a few of the most notable 
events in connection with it which occurred before 
the beginning of our narrative. It was most likely 
in the year 726 that the first edict against images 
was issued by Leo III. Whether or no the great 
volcanic disturbances which took place in 725, near 
to the island of Thera, had seemed a demonstration 
of Divine wrath against idolatry in the eyes of an 
Emperor whom his direst foes would not accuse of 
superstition ; whether he was following the policy of 
the Caliph Yezid, who had begun operations against 
images a few years before ; whether he was influenced 
by the injunctions of Jews, heretics, or renegade 
Catholics are questions we must postpone for the 
present. The order was issued on the authority of 
the Emperor only. His attempt to obtain the assent 
and support of the Patriarch Germanus signally failed, 
as did apparently his efforts to win the approval of 
the heads of the Academy which represented and 


fostered higher education in Constantinople. The 
lower classes of the people were, as might naturally 
be supposed, violently averse to the proposed changes, 
and apparently the first actual sufferers in the con 
flict were the workmen employed in hewing to pieces 
a mosaic representing Christ which stood above the 
gate called Chalce. 1 Probably the measures which 
followed a State Council oddly called a Silentium 
in 739 were, no less than the previous ones, due to 
Leo s personal initiation and authority. The Patriarch 
Germanus was formally deposed, and a more pliant 
ecclesiastic, Anastasius by name, was set on his 

Meantime, a strong opposition had arisen in the 
West. Pope Gregory II., on receiving notice of the 
iconoclastic decrees, had at once protested in writing : 
" That the Emperor ought not to concern himself 
with matters of faith nor to change the ancient 
doctrines of the Church as taught 2 by the Holy 
Fathers." The subsequent action of the Pope is 
not easy to trace. Italy was in a seething state, and 
the iconoclastic decrees seem rather to have pre 
cipitated than originated a widespread revolt against 
the Emperor, to which heavy taxes had already 
given provocation. According to the principal Greek 

1 Or possibly it may have been an image in the stricter sense. Ac 
cording to one account, it was itself called Chalce ; according to another, 
Antiphonates. See note in Hodgkin, loc. cit. p. 456. In any case, the 
image was in a lofty position, though some accounts represent the first 
edict as only directed against such pictures as were situated within reach 
of the worshipper, and thus liable to be physically saluted. For the whole 
controversy, see Theophanes (our chief authority) and Mansi, Historia 

2 Theophanes, Bonn edition, p. 621. Observe that this opposition of 
Gregory II. to Leo does not rest on the probably spurious letters assigned 
to him. 


authority, Gregory stimulated this resistance ; ac 
cording to the more probable accounts of the Latin 
writers, he tried to restrain it. Policy at that 
juncture might have prompted the same course of 
action as that which was prescribed by loyalty and 
desire for peace. In 731 Gregory III., having suc 
ceeded to the Papacy, called a synod of Italian 
bishops, which denounced the penalty of excom 
munication against all despisers of the holy images. 
The religious difference was now added to the earlier 
Italian complications. The Emperor withdrew both 
Illyricum and Southern Italy from obedience to the 
Roman See. When the Pope required outside help 
against the Lombards, Constantinople was the last 
quarter whence it might be hoped for. The result, 
most momentous for the whole course of European 
history, was, as we have seen, the armed interven 
tion of the Franks, and the abeyance of imperial 
authority in the West, till it should be restored 
under very different auspices, with new duties and 
new supports. 

The iconoclastic policy of Constantine V., who 
succeeded his father in 741, seems to have been 
more thorough-going and systematic than that of 
Leo. He attempted to gain support for his measures 
by means of a Church Council ; but as none of the 
great patriarchs were present it is not counted ex 
cept as the pseudo-council of Constantinople of 753. 1 
It had been preceded by " Silentia," or councils, in 
various cities, was attended by three hundred and 
thirty-eight bishops, and was presided over by Theo- 
dosius, Bishop of Ephesus. In the iconoclastic decree 

1 754 (?) For difficulties in the chronology of this period, see Bury 
L.R.E., ii. p. 425. 


which it passed, the favourers of images were placed 
in the dilemma of choosing between Monophysitism 
or Nestorianism ; either they must be endeavouring 
to represent the Divine Nature to the human senses, 
which would be blasphemous, or they must be dividing 
the nature of Christ, which would be heretical. As 
we shall see hereafter, this argument had as much 
force as most dilemmas on the minds of those who 
had learned to parry intellectual blows, and not much 
more on those who, if they could not lodge them 
selves between the horns of a dilemma, would have 
little standing - room for their religious opinions. 
What is of more immediate interest to us is the 
ceaseless warfare waged from this time forward be 
tween the iconoclastic emperors and the monks. 

It is by no means easy to decide whether Con- 
stantine V. persecuted the monks because they upheld 
the icons, or whether icons and monks together pro 
voked his detestation as maintaining a particular type 
of piety which he personally disliked, and which seemed 
to him undesirable for the public cause. He and his 
father, whether attracted or not by the simplicity of 
Mohammedan doctrine, had seen Mohammedanism at 
work, and they knew that a religion without asceticism, 
without external symbols, without saint-worship or 
religious orders, possessed a power in the field and 
on the march which enabled ordinary men to forego 
private inclinations and face imminent death. 

For centuries there had been a recognised incon 
sistency in Christian lands between the ideal reverenced 
by the pious and the claims of the state on the ser 
vices of the citizen. To practise celibacy when many 
countries were perishing for lack of men, to gather 
into separate communities at a time when the public 



service demanded a patriotic zeal of the most active 
kind to love to dwell on hidden mysteries and to 
make much of fine points of metaphysical subtlety, 
when sound practical sense was the one thing needed 
to save the state all this might move an irritable 
patriot to secularism and dispose an autocratic ruler 
to persecution. It was not only the monks, but also 
laymen whose religious practices and feelings resembled 
those of the monks who moved the ire of Constantine. 
The tendency to call on a sacred name of Christ or 
of the Virgin in a moment of unexpected peril, the 
habit of frequent church-going, the observance of vigils 
and fasts became a crime in the eyes of one who had 
practically the power to decide what should constitute 
crime in a despotically ruled empire. To compel 
monks to give up their wealth might seem necessary 
for the threatened security of the state. To enforce 
the breach of monastic vows was undeniably intolerant, 
but not beyond the reach of justification under stress of 
circumstances. But to expose to public ridicule and 
to visit with severe penalties those practices which 
popular piety approved and clerical learning justified, 
was to throw down the glove to the religion of the 
people. Constantine was not an argumentative theo 
logian, like some of his predecessors and followers. 
Yet he could form a telling argument, sharpened with 
a point of ridicule, as when, a propos of the worship 
of the Virgin, he asked an ecclesiastic what was the 
worth of a wooden box that had once held gold ? 
But if the theological emperors had sometimes made 
themselves undignified, the persecuting emperors soon 
made themselves hated. It is difficult to give them 
credit, as some of their Protestant apologists would 
do, for a desire to reform religion and to make the 


people more rational in their piety. How much of 
a real reforming spirit is to be found among those 
who carried out the iconoclastic policy we shall have 
to inquire hereafter. Our present object is only to 
obtain a general view of the conflicting tendencies in 
Church and State at the time when our narrative 

One word more before we pass from this prelimi 
nary survey to the main subject of our study ; we are 
apt, when we read of anarchy and of barbarian in 
vasions, both in East and West ; when we see the 
same kind of ecclesiastical discussions going on all 
over Europe ; when we realise the deterioration of 
art and literature in the lands where, a few centuries 
before, they had reached so high a point of develop 
ment to fancy that by this time Grseco-Roman civil 
isation was all played out, that the name " Roman 
Empire " was as inapplicable to the dominion of Con- 
stantine as to that which was founded half-a-century 
later by Charles. Yet such a view would be erroneous. 
In spite of decadence in many realms of culture, in 
spite of dangers which had robbed the Eastern Empire 
of its ancient security, and of disorders that hindered 
the ordinary course of civilised life, in spite of the loss 
of many treasures and traditions of ancient times, and 
the gradual drifting away of Constantinople from the 
yet more venerated home of culture and of order, yet 
after all the city where Theodore was born and bred 
was at that moment the focus of the best civilisation 
that existed, and contained within itself enough of the 
ancient world to vindicate it from any suspicion of 
encroaching barbarism. Remote indeed seems the 
Constantinople of the eighth century from all our 
modern ideas and ways, yet the London or the Paris 


of those days might perhaps seem still farther re 
moved from us than that " queenly " city. For there 
men could still enjoy the delights and refinements 
of Greek life, and admire the masterpieces of Hellenic 
art, as they strolled from hippodrome and theatre to 
church and monastery, from the busy harbours of 
the Golden Horn to the secluded garden of the old 
foundation of Studium. 

[The authorities for this introductory sketch are numerous, and 
many of them have been already cited. The principal original 
authorities are the Chronographia of Theophanes, and the docu 
ments in Mansi s Concilia. Among modern guides we have Bury s 
" Later Roman Empire," the last three volumes of Hodgkin s 
"Italy and her Invaders," Gibbon, with Professor Bury s notes, 
Hefele s " History of Church Councils " (last volume), and Schwarz- 
lose s Bilderstreit.] 



IF the time of Theodore s early days was one of great 
agitation in matters political and ecclesiastical, he 
may be said to have grown to manhood in the very 
thick of the fray. For his native city, Constantinople, 
was the great centre of all the movements and contests 
of the time, and the family into which he was born 
was, on both sides, intimately connected with the 
administration of the imperial government and intensely 
susceptible to the religious influences around. 

We have the advantage of possessing two "Lives" 
of Theodore, 1 one of which, at least, seems to have 
been the work of a follower and disciple, and the still 
more valuable records given by himself in his funeral 
discourses on his mother Theoctista 2 and his uncle 
Plato. 3 True, the " Lives" do not satisfy our curiosity 
on some points, and have the failings usually found 
in works written primarily for edification ; while the 
Orations labour under the disadvantages which en 
cumber all distinctly panegyrical discourses. Nor do 
the various sources always agree as to details. Never 
theless, they give us a good deal of material for 
forming, not only a fairly clear narrative, but also 

1 For these two lives, see note at the end of this chapter. I shall refer 
to the shorter one as Vita B, to the longer as Vita A. 

2 Oratio xiii. 

3 Oratio xi. 


a vivid picture of the persons and events most im 
portant to Theodore during a great part of his life. 

Theodore s father was a certain Photinus, who 
held a post in the imperial treasury in Latin his 
position is called "regionum vectigalium qusestor" 1 
his mother, a lady of good birth, Theoctista, daughter 
of Sergius and Euphemia, " distinguished as to family 
and no less admirable in character." Biographers, of 
an age when word-play was considered elegant, liked 
to dwell on his "luminous" father and his "God- 
created " mother. But in fact the luminary only 
shines for them by a reflected light, and hardly any 
thing is recorded of Photinus except his prudence, 
piety, and deference to his wife. It is even uncertain 
at what approximate age he died. 2 He seems to have 
had three brothers, like-minded with himself in religious 
disposition. 3 With Theoctista the case is otherwise. 
Her son who seems to have been the eldest, at least 
of her boys always cherished a sincere admiration and 
affection for her. In a letter, written while she was 
suffering from a dangerous illness, he extols her self- 
denying life, and expresses his grief that the cares 
of his office, more binding than iron chains, prevent 
him from coming to her. When she actually died 
probably some time later, as he seems to have been 
actually present with her at the end he pronounced 
to the monks under his care a discourse of great 
interest, as giving the portrait of a pious and wealthy 
lady in fashionable Byzantine society. Theoctista 

1 Vita By 2. rap.iias expyuaTio-f rS>v j3aa-i\iKa>v <p6pa>v, 

2 He is not mentioned in Theodore s letter to his mother, among those 
of the family who are already departed (Lib. i. Ep. 6), but I have not 
found any mention of him as living. 

3 For the three brothers of Photinus, see note at end of this chapter, 


had lost her parents in the great plague l which ravaged 
Constantinople in 749, and which was regarded by 
the orthodox as a judgment on iconoclasm. Her 
brother, Plato, was able to work his way up by diligence 
and industry, becoming first a notary, then a clerk 
of the imperial exchequer, fulfilling the functions of 
an office the honour and probably the emolument 
of which went to his negligent guardian. Theoctista, 
meanwhile, was allowed to grow up without education, 
till, with an energy equal to her brother s, she took 
the matter into her own hands. This does not seem 
to have been till after her marriage, which was probably 
an early one. Her ideas of matronly duty did not 
allow of her giving the daylight hours to literary 
occupation, but she found time for her studies late at 
night and early in the morning. Thus she taught her 
self letters ypa/u./uiaTi ^ei eaurrjv 17 cro(pr] KOI OT/ycTt^iet, and 
being, even in early youth, of a religious turn of mind, 
committed the Psalter to memory. Meantime she 
adopted a severely ascetic life, wearing a dress like a 
widow s, eating little meat, fasting rigorously, especially 
in Lent, while making-believe to take part in necessary 
banquets, and keeping her eyes downcast when she 
attended improper spectacles. Her attention to her 
children and to her household duties was assiduous. 
She seems to have cared more for the comfort of 
her servants than for her own, since, besides their 
ordinary allowance of bread, wine and bacon, she 
always saw that from time to time, especially on 
feast days, they had some fresh meat, fish and other 
delicacies. Being a careful housekeeper and a strict 

1 See Theodore s "Life of Abbot Plato," 3, 4, and Theophanes, cf. 
355. The accounts are ghastly and inexplicable. Both speak of coloured 
crosses appearing on the clothes of the victims. 


disciplinarian, and naturally of a quick temper, it 
sometimes occurred that acts of theft or negligence 
would provoke her to exercise the prerogative of 
mistress over slave, and deal not only reprimands but 
sharp blows. On such occasions, however, penitence 
speedily followed. Retiring to her room, she would 
slap her own cheeks, to realise the pain she had given, 
and then would send for the injured servant and make 
humble apology. Hospitality and liberality to the 
poor and the sick were marked traits in her character, 
and her care for her own children was constant and 
watchful. She kept her daughter secluded from worldly 
follies, and instructed her in the Scriptures and in the 
care of the sick. Every night, after her children had 
gone to bed, she visited them and signed them with 
the cross, and in the morning, on arising from her 
scanty night s rest, she aroused them to join with 
her in early prayer. 

These children seem to have been four in number, 
Theodore, Joseph, Euthymius, and a daughter whose 
name is not known. 1 They must have been closely 
attached to one another, and receptive of the same 
kind of impressions. At the age of seven Theodore 
was brought under outside influences, those of his 
instructors in letters. 

The names of Theodore s teachers are not preserved 
for us. We do not even know whether the teaching 
that he received was private or shared by others. 
Grammarians and rhetoricians had always stood high in 
Constantinople. Special immunities and privileges had 

1 Some writers take the expression e ^a&X^n? in Vita B, 15, to mean 
that the Empress Theodote was sister s daughter to Theodore, which 
would imply that there was another decidedly older sister in the family. 
But it seems more likely that Theodote was Theodore s cousin. 



been granted to them by many successive emperors, 
and salaries were guaranteed to them by the state, 
though there is no ground for supposing that they were 
quite independent of the fees of their pupils. Besides 
teachers, books abounded and were probably easy of 
access. Here, however, we come upon a difficulty. 
We have already noticed a curious story, which hardly 
claims our acceptance, of an Academy at Constanti 
nople burned down by Leo III., along with the pro 
fessors who acted as librarians and refused to execute 
the iconoclastic decrees. This academy l is said to 
have been presided over by a Doctor, who bore the 
title " (Ecumenical " and was supported by twelve 
colleagues. However this may have been, we know, 
on the testimony of Themistius, that Constantine the 
Great founded a library. It was later increased by 
Julian, and under Valens it was cared for by four 
Greeks and three Latin librarians. In the time of 
Basiliscus and of Zeno, it was wholly or partially 
burned and refounded, and its later station was in the 
Octagon, near to the part of the city called Chalche. 
Now if it was just in that region that the first removal 
of images was begun, we should find some reason for 
Leo s consultation of the doctors and for his displeasure 
at their unwillingness to remove the images, without 
resorting to the hypothesis of a permanent Council of 
Learned Men or the strange act of imperial incen 
diarism. Such speculations apart, however, we should 
like to be able to determine whether from the time of 
Leo to that of Bardas, as some historians say, there 
was really no first-rate public library in Constantinople, 

1 The locus classicus here is Zonaras, iii. 340. For Libraries and 
Librarians in Constantinople see discourse in Constantinopolis Christiana, 
by Ducange 


since that would touch a question of importance for 
our present purpose : how far Theodore, during the 
years of his education, was familiarised with the chief 
works of classical antiquity. The silence of Theophanes 
would lead us to suppose that the great library was 
there, even if diminished in size. Books must have 
been easily procurable in Constantinople, or the ravages 
of fires could not thus have been redressed. One man 
at least who was Theodore s younger contemporary, 
Photius, afterwards Patriarch of Constantinople, was a 
scholar of encyclopaedic learning, and yet the period of 
his education would, if the great fire is admitted, have 
fallen within the time during which the Library was 
in abeyance. 1 

It might be thought that such an important point 
as the acquaintance of Theodore with Greek literature 
ought to be easily decided from his biographies or from 
his own works. But here our biographer, in want of 
material, falls back on commonplace statements with 
moralising commentaries. He tells us how diligently 
and successfully Theodore prosecuted his studies in 
Grammar, Dialectic (" which those skilled in it call 
philosophy"), and Rhetoric, and dwells much on the 
good conduct and piety which marked his student life. 
" Grammar " should, of course, include general litera 
ture, but it was quite possible, then as now, for a 
student to acquire sufficient knowledge to pass muster 
in a crowd without going beyond compendia and books 
of extracts. The study of Dialectic was, of course, 
based on Aristotle, and it may be said that a belief 
in the power of argument was a legacy of the Pagan 
Greeks to the Eastern Church. Rhetoric was in the 

1 There was in Photius time a college which had been founded by 
Bardas. But whence came its books ? 


same way an instrument for religious teaching which 
had to be acquired along the lines of secular instruction. 
The fact that Theodore became proficient in these 
subjects would not by itself prove that he received a 
broadly based Greek education. 

Nor do his writings help us to decide the question. 
He does not make first-hand quotations from the 
classics, though this by no means proves that he 
was personally unacquainted with them. We might 
imagine that if he had read Plato, he could hardly have 
kept himself from quoting Platonic passages where 
they would evidently have been capable of interpreta 
tion on his side and against the iconoclasts. But after 
all, in quoting those of the Fathers most deeply imbued 
with Platonic philosophy, particularly Basil he may 
have thought that to go beyond a Christian Father to 
seek the origin of his principles in a heathen philosopher 
would have weakened rather than confirmed any cause. 
Yet there can be no doubt that in so far as Theodore 
and those of the same school were Platonists in mind, 
they preferred to take their Platonism, or at least to 
exhibit it, at second hand. Similarly, in our own days, 
many theologians acknowledge principles which have 
been ultimately derived from Kant and Hegel, while 
they may have as little actual familiarity with those 
philosophers as any of their readers or audience. 

The facts remain, of course, that the Greek classics 
were to be read in the Byzantine libraries, that 
Theodore had a deep respect for books and learning, 
and that he did seriously devote himself to prolonged 
and arduous studies, both during his early youth and 
in later years. At the same time, we know that the 
accumulation of learning was not only a possible fact 
but one actually accomplished by some of his con- 


temporaries. Yet even with some of the undoubtedly 
learned, the curious position of conscious intellectual 
indebtedness to a system and to persons whose autho 
rity had been repudiated, had involved a want of that 
sense of proportion which is essential to real literary 

Take for instance John of Damascus, an elder con 
temporary of Theodore, who had been, as his biographer 
tells us, well instructed in all Greek learning, and who 
wrote both an elaborate Dialectica and an account of 
One Hundred Sects or Heresies prevalent in his own 
or in earlier days. He actually confounds, or seems 
to confound, Pythagoreans with Peripatetics, and the 
chief mark of the Platonists seems to him to be the 
socialistic ideal of Plato s " Republic." If Theodore had 
ever wished to convert heathens, or even to demonstrate 
the superiority of Christianity to Paganism in any way, 
we should have known whether his knowledge as to 
pagan philosophy was clear or confused. But neither 
pagan philosophy nor ancient history was required to 
yield him arms for the dialectical contests of his life. 

Theodore s zeal for knowledge, as he conceived it, 
and his familiarity with the Scriptures and with the 
Greek Fathers, is evident all through his writings. 
And no less clear is his appreciation of the need 
of clearness in terminology, and careful observance of 
logical forms, on the part of those who undertake to 
prove or disprove any controverted doctrine. In one 
of his letters, addressed to a young monk who seems 
to have been writing about what he did not understand, 1 
he reproaches him bitterly for using technical terms 
such as relative, type, and the like without having 

1 Lib. ii. Ep. 151. 


acquired the grammatical and philosophical skill that 
would have enabled him to use them accurately. 

In rhetoric or eloquence Theodore certainly obtained 
a high place, all the more, perhaps, if, as his biographer 
says, he despised the empty verbiage which encum 
bered the study. His style can hardly be called simple, 
but when he was purposely aiming at a practical end 
and could afford to throw his oratorical flowers away, 
he could speak very vigorously and much to the 
point. He must have studied poetry with care, as 
far as the laws of versification are concerned. As to 
his readings in the poets, we have no evidence. But 
he learned to write elegant verse in the classical metres, 
and also to compose according to the new and ela 
borate ecclesiastical system of hymn or ode writing, 
in which accent was gradually beginning to supersede 

What help he had at home in his studies, we are 
not able to say. In one of his letters 1 he mentions 
a commentary on St. John as of (which may mean 
either belonging to or written by) his father according 
to the flesh. But it hardly seems likely that Photinus, 
of whom we know so little, should have been a theo 
logical writer, though it is quite probable that he was 
a lover of books. 

Theodore s quiet years of early study seem to have 
lasted till he was twenty-two years old. This fact 
suggests the question whether, in his studies, any 
practical objects were set before him, whether he 
were preparing himself for any profession or calling. 
It might be supposed that his disposition and tastes 
would have inclined him towards the clerical profes- 

1 31 of Cozza-Luzi Collection. 


sion, but we can hardly find any clear traces of such 
a profession at Constantinople just at this time. The 
leading ecclesiastics seem in many cases to have been 
promoted from the ranks of the laity though this 
was, of course, against canonical rule or else to have 
entered the Church through the cloister. It seems 
most probable that before Theodore definitely gave 
up his life in the world altogether for one of monastic 
seclusion, he was regarded as likely to follow some 
such lines as those of his father and uncle, and to rise 
gradually to a position of wealth and standing in the 
Imperial Service. This consideration brings us to the 
highly interesting question whether Theodore, and Plato 
before him, acquired in the Offices of the Government 
the neat and business-like handwriting for which they 
both became famous. We must return to this subject 
later. 1 

There was probably no actual need for Theodore to 
earn a livelihood, as his family had landed possessions, 
especially in Asia Minor, and his father s office must 
have been a lucrative one. Of one fact we may be 
sure that he mixed in the upper society of Constanti 
nople, and acquired that knowledge of men and 
manners, with habits of courtesy and social tact, which 
mark his correspondence, and entitle him all through 
life to the title of gentleman. Possibly to those who 
do not realise the excessive and scrupulous etiquette 
and ceremony which distinguish Byzantine society, his 
urbanity may seem to have a tinge of servility. In 
any case, it is an important fact that in early life 
he learned to know men and society, and that he was 
not an alien to the aristocratic world in which he was 

1 See chap. xiii. 


obliged later to seek for partisans. And there seems to 
be something quite genuine in Theodore s appreciation 
of piety and purity as he discerned it among the reli 
giously disposed of the members of the upper circles. 
To him the monastic life was always the highest. 
Any man or woman who had adopted and forsaken it 
was to be regarded as one who had put the hand to 
the plough and looked back. Yet the example of his 
mother and probably that of other members of his 
family had shown him that even in the world a good 
and pure life might be lived. He always seems to 
have felt tenderness for children, and to have admired 
conjugal affection and fidelity. He can never be ac 
cused of having such an exclusively monastic standard 
of excellence as to discourage efforts towards virtuous 
living under the ordinary conditions of society. 

It may be remarked that the high and honoured 
position of Photinus and Theoctista, taken together with 
their recognised piety, would lead us to doubt whether 
the persecutions of Constantine Caballinus touched 
those of the laity who, while disapproving his anti- 
monastic and iconoclastic policy, did not incur sus 
picion by offending any of his strongest prejudices or 
feelings. After all, Constantine had a daughter who 
was notable for her piety and had a nun for her god 
mother. 1 If, during his reign, the family had shown 
any intentions of forsaking the world, the case might 
have been otherwise. 

An interesting point in Theodore s account of his 
mother is her freedom from the superstition of her con 
temporaries, the very trait which the iconoclasts were 
always holding up for opprobrium in their opponents. 

1 See Bury : " Later Koman Empire," bk. vi. ch. v., note at end. 


She refused to allow in the case of her children the 
curious ceremonies practised on new-born babes. Pos 
sibly the view that such ceremonies were derived from 
the Devil may itself be regarded as savouring of 
superstition. But the prevalence of belief in magic and 
the resistance made to it in the name of Christianity 
is a fact to be taken account of in the controversies of 
the times. If almost everybody was credulous, the 
anti-iconoclasts had no monopoly. 

The strenuous piety of Theoctista and her resistance 
to the worldly ideas and practices of her neighbours 
was encouraged by the reputation and influence of her 
brother Plato, although during the days of persecution 
he was not able to show himself openly in Constanti 
nople. Plato had early conceived a desire to flee from 
the world, and he executed it in somewhat dramatic 
fashion. He left Constantinople with one servant, 
crossed the straits, and wandered away to a desolate 
region till he came to a cavern into which he entered. 
He then gave his head to be shorn by his attendant, 
put on a vile garment, and sent the man back with his 
ordinary clothes to the city. The servant departed 
weeping, and Plato went on his way till he came to 
the monastery of Symboli, in Bithynia, over which a 
holy man Theoctistus presided as abbot. 1 Plato was 
admitted to the abbot s presence, and replied satis 
factorily to the questions put to him. Nevertheless 
Theoctistus feared that a man of gentle birth and good 
social position would find such a life as that which he 
contemplated too severe for his endurance. But Plato 
would take no repulse. " Father," he exclaimed, " I 
give up all to you, mind and will and body ; treat 

1 The name suggests kinship to the family of Plato and Theoctista, 
and we are told that the family had possessions in Bithynia. 


your servant as you will ; he will obey you in every 
thing." Thus Plato began his life as monk. As time 
went on, he never relaxed either in active labours or 
in private discipline. In course of time his reputation 
grew, and on the death of Theoctistus he succeeded to 
his office. 

These were the years of persecution. But better 
times were at hand. In 775, Constantine Caballinus 
died, and was succeeded by his son, Leo IV., commonly 
called, from his mother s race, the Khazar. Leo did 
not at once reverse nor did he actually continue the 
ecclesiastical policy of his father. He does not seem 
to have been a strong man, and he was in a very 
difficult position, as he had several grown-up brothers 
of doubtful loyalty, a young son, whose succession he 
wished to secure, a very ambitious wife, and probably a 
feeble physical constitution which made a long tenure 
of power improbable. Irene, the Empress, was an 
Athenian, a devoted venerator of images, and from in 
clination or policy inclined to favour the monks. At 
first it seemed as if a compromise would be made. Leo 
showed himself u a friend of the God-bearer and of the 
monks," not, however, of the icons. On the death 
of the iconoclastic Patriarch, a man of learning and 
good reputation was appointed to succeed him, Paul 
of Cyprus, who had attained the ecclesiastical grade of 
Lector. Paul seems to have hoped for a restoration 
of the old state of things, but Leo, urged perhaps by 
the fear of a faction which had risen in insurrection 
under some of his brothers, began after a time to use 
strong measures against the opponents of iconoclasm. 
What kind of policy he would ultimately have adopted 
is uncertain, as he died in 780, after a troubled reign 
of five years, leaving his throne to his son Constantine, 


aged ten, and under the guardianship of his mother 

The Empress had now a fair field for carrying out 
her own ideas. Whatever her moral character may 
have been, she was certainly a woman of capacity. 
She proved herself more than a match for the 
recalcitrant uncles, and her respect for the monastic 
state was rather oddly shown in her orders for the 
tonsure of the most illustrious rebels. The patriarch 
Paul, penitent and miserable, desired to retire from an 
office in which he had not acted up to his convictions. 
Happily, death saved him from any such humiliation. 
His last request, that the question of the icons should 
be decided by a General Council was accepted as an 
obligation by his successor. This was Tarasius, a 
layman of distinction, whose political experience was 
likely to stand the Empress in good stead. He did 
not in the subsequent history prove himself a very 
strong champion of the monastic cause, but his 
influence, when freely exercised, was in favour of 
the monks and of the icons. 

There was now no need for Plato to absent himself 
from Constantinople. His vows had not been such as 
to preclude him from exercising social influence, and 
when he returned to his old surroundings, the spell 
of his strong character was first felt by his sister 
and her children, and especially by Theodore. This 
influence brought about a renunciation of all secular 
life on the part of the whole family. It was not a 
difficult matter to accomplish, as they possessed estates 
in Bithynia, a province where ascetics and ascetic 
communities seem to have flourished. In the late 
troubles, the religious houses for women had become 
disorganised, but Theoctista would be able to live 


" cellular fashion " with her little daughter, while her 
husband and his three brothers, her son Theodore and 
his brothers, Joseph and Euthymius, could probably 
be accommodated in suitable places of retirement, 
possibly all of them under the direct supervision of 
Plato himself. 

Theodore gives a pathetic account of the parting 
of mother and sons. The wave of enthusiasm seems 
to have carried away the whole family, yet at the last 
moment the youngest boy, Euthymius, felt his heart 
fail, and clung around his mother s neck, imploring 
that he might remain with her. But her answer was 
inexorable : "If you do not go willingly, my child, 
I with my own hand will drag you on board the 
ship." This seems an inhuman speech, but in point 
of fact there seems to have been quite free consent 
to the breaking up of the family on the part of all 
its members, and in the case of Theoctista, the ties of 
family affection were not snapped by the adoption of 
a new life. 

If Theodore himself felt any weakness, he is not 
likely to have expressed it. It seems to have been a 
good deal by his persuasion that the final step was 
taken, and he had found a hero-model as well as a 
spiritual father in his uncle, with whose fortunes 
his own were hereafter to be very closely linked. 

If, from this critical moment, we look back on 
Theodore s early life and training, we see how fitly it 
had prepared him for the part he was to play in life, 
as religious controversialist, as monastic reformer, and 
as party leader. Family surroundings had fostered his 
natural tendency to emphasise the religious side of 
life and thought, and his reading had been in great 
part theological. Yet he had learned to look at reli- 


gious questions, not perhaps in what we should call 
a philosophic aspect, but at least as a genuine Greek 
must look at all matters which are to be discussed 
according to logical principles, and contemplated under 
the forms of the old philosophies. The practices which 
he had observed in his mother, the example of asceti 
cism shown in his uncle, their utter disregard of all 
worldly considerations where higher interests were 
at stake, had helped to form in his mind a type of 
the devout and self-denying life which was to serve 
as the model of many influential communities. And 
his intercourse with men and women of various char 
acters and modes of life had given him a certain 
power of discerning character and of appealing to re 
sponsive feelings, which was essential to his success as 
champion of a fluctuating cause. At the same time, 
apart from any such evident advantages as a youth of 
his great capacity might derive from friends, teachers, 
and society, there was nourished in him one quality in 
which so many of his contemporaries were notably de 
ficient; a single-heartedness in all his efforts, and an 
entire loyalty to duty, sustained by a firm belief in 
his own vocation to serve the cause of righteousness 
and truth, the cause oppressed by all the forces of an 
autocratic government and an unsympathetic world. 


I. "The two Lives of Theodore." These are printed in extenso 
in vol. xcix. of the Patrologia. The second is the shorter, and 
is now acknowledged to be the work of Michael the Monk, a 
Studite and younger contemporary of Theodore. The other and 
longer biography is evidently based on the shorter one, but 
contains some additional matter, especially concerning the earliest 
stage of Theodore s monastic life. It was formerly attributed to 


Michael, whose name it bears in two early codices, but since 
that authorship has been assigned to the other life, this one has 
been regarded as the work of a certain John, or of Theodorus 

II. " Brethren of Photinus." The three converts of Plato 
have, in interpretation of the documents, been regarded as three 
brothers of Plato (Vita B), or as brothers or sisters or brothers and 
sister of Theodore (Vita A). Or. xiii. 6, would seem to be conclu 
sive in favour of the view that they were brothers of Photinus. But 
it seems strange that we hear no more of them. 



THE time at which Theodore forsook the world was one 
of great disorganisation in Eastern monachism. There 
was, however, much zeal for asceticism and a strong 
desire for a regulated common life evident in many 
quarters, and wanting only the call of a leader and the 
skill of an organiser to reconstruct the tottering fabric 
and make it far more stable than it had been before. 
It was, perhaps, well for Theodore that the first years 
of his profession were for him a period of quiet and 
seclusion. The place to which he and his family had 
retired was a country estate called Boscytium, not far 
from Saccudio, where Plato was abbot. It was in 
the form of a crescent, well planted and breezy, with 
pleasant flowing water. 1 Either here or at Saccudio, 
under the direction of his uncle, Theodore superin 
tended the building or rebuilding of a church dedi 
cated to St. John the Evangelist, both the floor and 
the walls of which were adorned with rich mosaics. 
For a task of this kind, his familiarity with the noble 
buildings of Constantinople must have well fitted him. 
In the zeal for his newly adopted vocation, he was 
eager to accomplish the very lowliest of monastic 

1 The description of Boscytium in Vita A, is almost identical with 
that of Saccudio in Vita B. 


duties, such as digging in the garden, helping the 
sick brethren in their labours, and cleaning out the 
domestic buildings. 1 But this work was not incom 
patible with serious study, and in fact it was through 
reading the ascetic works of Basil that Theodore became 
so active in both practising and enforcing the rules as 
to labour, seclusion, and regularity in prayer and in 
work, which were held to be binding on all monks. 

This brings us to the difficult question : under what 
kind of rule did the monks of the Eastern monasteries 
live towards the end of the eighth century ? If they 
had been asked, they would doubtless have replied : 
" under that of the great Basil." Yet in the genuine 
works of Basil, and even in the spurious ones 2 which 
were accepted as his by Plato and Theodore, we fail to 
see anything like a rule such as those of the great 
Western orders or like that which Theodore subsequently 
drew up for Studium, and which, as we shall see, was 
copied by many other communities. What Basil gave 
was mostly in the form of answers to questions, direc 
tions as to the application of the fundamental prin 
ciples of monachism to the needs of social life. The 
principles are in great part taken as set forth in Scrip 
ture, especially in the Gospels, and a large portion of 
his exhortations are equally suitable to the laity and 
to professed monks. They are not delivered on autho 
rity, but deduced from Scripture and reason, yet the 
principle of authority is uttered with no uncertain 
sound. In fact, it might seem to some devotees that 

1 Vita A, vii. and B, 6. It is not quite clear whether in Vita A 
this work was carried out in Boscytium or in Saccudio. It would seem 
more probable, according to Vita B, that it was in Saccudio. 

2 In the Migne edition of Basil, there is a scholium, purporting to 
be by Theodore, defending the genuineness of the Constitutiones Asceticce, 
Pair. Gr., xxxi. p. 1319. 


the principles of authority and of asceticism were often 
at variance, since excessive fasting, or the indulgence 
of individual leanings to one or another kind of work 
or of discipline, was tightly controlled by the appli 
cation of the maxim that " We ought not to please 
ourselves." The Basilian writings generally, though 
austere in parts, breathe a spirit of what has been 
called " sanctified common sense," and allow scope in 
a wise leader to consider all the circumstances in cases 
where he has to decide in apportioning works and 
penalties. Obedience, poverty, labour, devotion, and 
abstinence, except under strict limitations, from female 
society, are rigorously insisted upon. But the rules 
laid down are not very minute, and often allow for 
variety in following them out. 

Nevertheless this "rule of Basil" was, and was 
rightly, regarded by the Eastern monks as their 
chief, almost their sole authority. The other impor 
tant sources of monastic law were the decrees of 
Councils, necessarily varying in range and purport, 
and the imperial legislation, 1 especially that of Jus 
tinian. In the "Novels" we find rules as to the 
appointment of abbots, the length of the novitiate, 
the dealing with runaways, and similar matters which, 
as we have abundant evidence, were not always scrupu 
lously observed, but which helped to form the basis 
of subsequent legislation. The matter need not be 
discussed further, till we come to Theodore s reforms 
and regulations in his later post as abbot of Studium. 
Here we need only note that he was acting on received 
authority, when he either stimulated or supported Plato 

1 On early monastic rules in the East, see the admirable monographs : 
Meyer, Die Haupturkunden fur die Geschichte der Athos-kloster ; and Nissen, 
Die Regelung des Klosterwesens. 



in bringing the monks of Saccudio to consent to a far 
more stringent rule than they had hitherto followed. 
Their asceticism, be it observed, is of an active and 
social kind. Solitary life, however lofty in its possi 
bilities, had come to be regarded as so liable to abuse 
as to be only tolerable in rare cases. Such a case, 
probably, was that of Theoctista, whom Plato desired 
to live " cellular fashion," probably because there was 
just then no well-managed nunnery at hand. 

Meantime, the united bonds of affection arid respect 
between uncle and nephew were ever becoming stronger. 
They seem to have lived in constant intercourse, and 
Theodore must before long have taken up his abode in 
Saccudio, for we hear no more of Boscytium after the 
first. Here, however, a chronological difficulty meets 
us : in the Lives of Theodore, it would seem as if he 
did not take up the monastic profession till after the 
Second Council of Nicaea, and it would also seem that 
Plato became abbot of Saccudio at the time of the 
family migration. We need not concern ourselves to 
ask what had become of his previous monastery, that 
of the Symbols. In those days, a small community of 
the kind might easily dwindle and vanish. But the 
one statement we have as to Theodore s age that he 
was made abbot at the age of thirty-five, having 
followed the life of a monk for thirteen years 1 is 
difficult to reconcile with the supposition that he 
entered monasticism only in 787. And again, in 
Theodore s own Life of Plato, we are told of Plato s 
choice as abbot (though Saccudio is not named) before 
the Council, of his refusal to take higher ecclesiastical 
offers subsequently made to him, and of his return to 

1 Vita A, xvi. 


his monastery after the Council. Again, among the 
signatories to the resolutions passed at Nicsea, his name 
appears as Plato, monk and abbot of Saccudio. 1 Either 
hypothesis has its difficulties. According to the gener 
ally received chronology, the family renunciation and 
migration followed the return of Plato to Constantinople 
soon after the death of Leo, and he must have left 
his little flock, probably under the superintendence of 
Theodore, during his attendance at the Council of 
Niceea. But whether Theodore heard of the delibera 
tions and resolutions of that Council before he left his 
paternal home at Constantinople, or while he was under 
going his novitiate at Saccudio, there is no doubt that he 
followed them with a deep interest, and welcomed with 
delight the triumph of the icons and of the cause of 
the monks. 

To us, looking back on the struggle of conflicting 
forces during that critical period, it seems that another 
and greater cause was at stake than either that of mosaics 
or that of monasteries, that if Irene and Tarasius had 
known how to make the most of their position, the 
breach between East and West might have been healed, 
and the supremacy of one Empire and one Church 
established for the Middle Ages and possibly for Modern 
Europe. For, as we have seen, it was the ecclesiastical 
policy of the Isaurian Emperors that had served as pre 
text and as goad, if not as original motive, for the suc 
cessive acts of unfriendliness between Eome and the 
East which were speedily ripening into hostility, and 
which bore the seeds of permanent alienation. If then 
this Council, oecumenic or universal in reality as in pro 
fession, had sought not only to assert the same standard 

1 Mansi, Hist. Cone., vol. xviii. 


of faith and ritual for East and West, but also to adjust 
the rival claims of patriarchal powers, and particularly 
to establish a modus vivendi with the Papacy in Eome, 
and if at the same time the Imperial Court at Byzantium 
had drawn nearer to the other great Court of Chris 
tendom, that of the Frankish champions of Papal power, 
then we may fairly say that the unity of Christendom 
would have been secured in ways passing the dreams of 
the most visionary catholics and cosmopolitans, Charles 
the Great would never have been crowned in Rome, 
the Crusades would not have failed for want of unity 
and a policy in militant Christendom, Greece would have 
continued to dominate the barbarian world, and there 
would have been no Renaissance needed, for there would 
have been no death or trance of ancient culture. But 
neither Empress nor Patriarch was equal to the emer 
gency perhaps neither of them in any way discerned 
the greatness of the issues of the moment. It seems 
hardly too much to say that if Theodore the Studite had 
been ten years older at this time, in which case he 
would doubtless have taken a leading part in what was 
done, the cause of unity, at least in the ecclesiastical 
sphere, might have triumphed, since Theodore, as we 
shall see hereafter, had no scruple against acknowledg 
ing the far-reaching claims of Old Rome, and felt no 
remarkable deference to the See of Constantinople. 
And if ecclesiastical unity had prevailed in East and 
West, imperial unity would have had a longer and 
more vigorous life, there would have been no " Holy 
Roman Empire" as a separate and Western institution, 
and the whole course of European progress would have 
taken a different direction. 

But after all, amid the great complications of 
Eastern and Western affairs, it would have required 


breadth of view, tenacity of purpose, and diplomatic 
skill in an unusually happy combination to avert the 
great cleavage. In Italy, at that time, there were 
at least three great powers or interests, besides many 
minor ones, the conflicts and combinations among which 
claimed the attention of the Eastern Church and Court. 
First there was Pope Hadrian L, irritated at the with 
drawal of ecclesiastical provinces formerly under his 
sway, and at the reduction of power and revenues 
which he had suffered at the hands of the Greeks, or 
subjects of the Empire, whom, till they had purged 
themselves of heresy, he might vituperate as " unutter 
able." l He declared that they were in league with 
the Lombards of the coast to carry off slaves, and he 
suspected them of various machinations among the 
doubtfully loyal dukes and princes who ought to have 
acknowledged the Papal authority. Then there was the 
great King of the Franks himself, Charles, now also 
King of the Lombards, who had received, along with 
the Lombard crown, a weight of cares in those Italian 
regions which had been imperial, or ruled by semi- 
independent dukes or princes, and endless oppor 
tunities of friction with the Papal power. For though 
Hadrian was far too wise to be anything but polite 
not to say adulatory in addressing his powerful 
protector, there was a pardonable querulousness in the 
appeals he made for help in Italy to the hard-worked 
warrior who had to provide against Saxons, Avars, 
and Saracens, not only against recalcitrant bishops 

1 " Nee dicendi Gr&ci." Letter of Hadrian to Charles, probably of date 
778. No. 63 in Codex Carolinus, Migne s Pair., vol. 98. The relations of 
Byzantium and Italy in these years have been worked out from Frankish, 
Papal, and Greek sources by Dr. Hodgkin and Professor Bury ; (Cf. 
Gasquet, L Empire Byzantin et la Monarchic Franque;) also by Otto 


of Ravenna or an intriguing Duke of Spoleto. Again 
there were those lesser powers, Lombard in origin, but 
never effectually controlled by the Lombard kings, of 
which the most important just now was that of Bene- 
ventum under Arichis. This Prince was an enlightened 
man, favourable to letters and to building. He was 
not very loyal to Pope or King, and had been in com 
munication with the late emperors. His wife, Adelperga, 
was a daughter of the last Lombard King, Desiderius, 
and her brother, Adelchis, had fled to the Byzantine 
Court. But the policy of the Beneventines was not 
altogether philhellene if, as the Pope believed, they 
were intriguing with a disloyal governor of Sicily, 
whom Irene had to recall, but who subsequently found 
refuge with the Saracens. 

The wisest and broadest policy for the Byzantine 
court, so far as we can judge, would have been first 
to make sure of Charles, and secure such an amicable 
and intimate union with him that the North-Italian 
question, as between the two great sovereigns of the 
civilised world, might have been permanently settled ; 
next, to obtain the hearty co-operation of the Pope in 
the Conciliar Action now to be taken for the restora 
tion of the icons ; and finally, to have mediated an 
agreement between the Beneventines and their spiritual 
and secular superiors. Unfortunately none of these 
lines of policy was effectually pursued. An abortive 
attempt at an alliance with Charles proved worse than 
nugatory. The attempt to win over the Pope was not 
sufficiently respectful of his dignity to make him a 
cordial friend, however much he may have sympa 
thised with the religious policy of the Empress ; and 
the Beneventines were allowed to slip away from 
Greek influence, so that the later attempt to reinstate 


the Lombard prince was defeated by his nearest 

At first, however, Irene conceived a wise and bold 
project. This was to unite her son Constantine in 
marriage with Rothrud, the eldest daughter of Charles 
and of his best-beloved wife, Hildegard. The embassy 
sent with this object from Constantinople reached 
Charles during his second visit to Rome, in 781. The 
arrangement was made and confirmed by oath. We 
do not know the political conditions, but we are told 
that a certain Greek eunuch named Eliseus was sent 
to the Frankish Court to instruct Rothrud, or Eruthro, 
as the Greeks called her, in Greek letters and speech, 
and in the ways of the Roman Empire. It would be 
interesting to know how Eliseus fared. At the Court 
of Charles he would probably have found other pupils 
besides Rothrud anxious for instruction in Greek, and 
if he had been a powerful man, he would undoubtedly 
have made his mark. As the engagement lasted for 
six years, Rothrud and probably her sisters and com 
panions (for Charles cared much for the education both 
of his sons and of his daughters) may have acquired 
considerable knowledge of Greek literature, though 
probably it was in matters of ceremonial (50i/) that 
the courtier chiefly sought to instruct her. But at the 
end of that time, the contract was broken off by Irene 
herself. Her motives are not clear. It can hardly 
have been that she now felt so secure of the Pope as 
to consider it safe to dispense with the King, for the 
Papal assent to the Council of Nicsea had not yet been 
obtained. Her action has with great probability been 
attributed to mere personal jealousy. The advent 
of a daughter-in-law so strangely connected and so 
differently brought up from the ladies of the Court 


might have introduced a new and dangerous element 
into the Palace, and have lessened the influence of the 
Queen-mother, whose love of power was undoubtedly 
great. Be this as it may, Irene broke off the marriage 
alliance, and sought as bride for Constantine an 
Armenian lady, Maria by name, a pious woman, 1 but 
not attractive to the young bridegroom, who seems to 
have set his heart on marrying the Frankish princess. 
Charles was able to console himself so far as Rothrud 
herself was concerned. He always preferred to keep 
his daughters with him, he used to say. They followed 
him on horseback when he rode abroad, and studied 
under his directions at home. But the rebuff which he 
had received from Irene coloured his views of the 
Eastern Court generally, and prevented him from 
acknowledging the orthodoxy of the Greeks, even 
after it had been recognised by the Pope himself. 

Meanwhile Tarasius and Irene had both written to 
Hadrian I. announcing the change in the patriarchate 
and in the attitude taken up by the Court towards the 
images ; also their intention of holding a Council for 
the purpose of correcting past errors. In Irene s letter 2 
(that of Tarasius has not survived) the Pope was asked 
either to come himself or to send representatives, the 
charge both of mission and of prospective arrangements 
being entrusted to the Governor of Sicily. The answers 
sent by the Pope were friendly in the main, but cautious 
and not too yielding. He approved the religious objects 
of the new rulers, but touched on sundry grievances : 

1 Theodore wrote to her, Ep. 81 in bk. ii. and 218 in Cozza-Luzi 

2 The substance of these letters is given in the full epitome of Hefele 
(" Hist. Ch. Councils "), English translation. For unabridged account see 
Mansi, vol. xviii. 


the uncanonical appointment of a layman, in the person 
of Tarasius, to the Patriarchate of Constantinople ; the 
retention by the Patriarch of the title cecumenical or 
universal, which had caused offence since the days of 
John the Faster of Constantinople and Gregory I. of 
Rome, and which, even if softened in meaning, seemed 
to trench on the prerogatives of the successor of St. 
Peter ; and the provinces withdrawn from Roman 
jurisdiction by Leo the Isaurian. The last point was 
naturally the most important, and the only one, 
perhaps, that could effectually postpone a good under 
standing. He sent with his letter to Irene two 
ecclesiastics, both named Peter, an arch-presbyter and 
an abbot respectively. They were received as man 
datories sent by the Pope to represent him in the 
Council. But it was by no means clear that they were 
technically authorised to assume any such position, and 
at a later time, when, for a short period of his life, 
Theodore wished to minimise the authority of the 
Seventh Council, 1 he could say that Rome had not 
sanctioned its acts, since the messengers who had 
come thence and had taken part in its deliberations 
and decisions, had really been sent for quite a 
different purpose. 

But there was a second difficulty in the way of 
assembling a council. To be general, or oecumenical, 
a council must be attended, personally or representa 
tively, by the five Patriarchs of Old and New Rome, 
Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. New Rome was 
on the spot ; Old Rome might be regarded as present 
in the person of the two Peters ; but Egypt, Syria, 

1 Lib. i. Ep. 38. Even if, as Baronius supposes, this part of the 
letter is not by Theodore, we see that such an objection could plausibly 
be made. 


and Palestine were so hopelessly cut off from Chris 
tendom and so entirely within the power of the 
Mohammedans, that even the summons of Tarasius 
could not reach them. But the Court and Church 
were equal to the emergency. The Patriarch of 
Jerusalem had lately declared himself in favour of 
the icons. Antioch and Egypt were held to be 
represented by a certain John and Thomas respect 
ively, who were sent by certain oriental monks 
(? apxiepei?) with letters of credence to Tarasius and 
the Fathers in Council. Their names accordingly 
appear among the first in all the lists of signatures 
to the decrees of the Council. 

But there was a third and yet more dangerous 
hindrance in the way. We have seen that the icono 
clastic emperors possessed the confidence of the army. 
It does not seem probable that the soldiery was more 
free from superstition than any other part of the 
nation, but it was distinctly anti-clerical, and perhaps 
also opposed to female rule. The first meeting of the 
assembled Fathers was to be held in the Church of 
the Apostles at Constantinople. It was to be a 
solemn occasion ; the Patriarch, and the orthodox and 
unorthodox bishops, with abbots and priests, were 
assembled in the main part of the building, while 
the Empress and her son were in the portion usually 
assigned to the catechumens. Suddenly there was a 
rush of armed men into the church ; the life of the 
Patriarch and of his partisans was threatened. The 
household troops w r ere called in, but could effect 
nothing. The iconoclastic captains prevailed, and the 
bishops of that party raised a shout of triumph. The 
Patriarch and the orthodox escaped by flight, and the 
Synod was temporarily dissolved. But Irene again 


showed herself not easily to be beaten. She devised 
means by which, on pretence of a necessary expedi 
tion against the Arabs, the recalcitrant troops were 
withdrawn from the city and replaced by others, 
drawn from the East, in whom she could trust. Her 
chief agent in this matter was Stauracius, " patrician 
and logothete," a correspondent of Theodore s in later 
times. When the Court had also withdrawn and the 
loyal troops had obtained possession of Constantinople, 
the tumultuary bands were disarmed and dismissed. 

The way was at last clear. But it seemed de 
sirable that some other city should be chosen for the 
meeting place of the Council. The place selected, 
from its convenient situation and its halo of orthodox 
sanctity, was Nicaea in Bithynia. Here the Fathers 
met again, under the presidency of Tarasius, rather 
more than a year after the abortive attempt made at 

The proceedings of this Synod have been chronicled 
at great length. Only the more important of them need 
concern us here. In the very first session, three notable 
iconoclastic bishops read their recantation, and were not 
only pardoned but allowed to take part in the Synod. 
When seven more followed their example, some remon 
strance was raised on behalf of ecclesiastical order, but 
whether from charity or from fear, leniency prevailed, 
though the penitents were not allowed straightway 
to resume their places. The question of image-worship 
was taken up and discussed during several sessions. 
The letters from the Pope and from the East, already 
referred to, were read, though the portion of Hadrian s 
letter to Irene which brought forward the Papal 
grievances was prudently omitted. Arguments from 
the Scriptures and from the Fathers relating to images 


were read, with a summary of the arguments used 
on the other side, and a lengthy refutation. These 
arguments may be left till we come to consider the 
controversial works of Theodore. Here we need only 
say that if, as is most probable, Plato had some hand 
in drawing up the arguments and counter-arguments 
by order of Tarasius, it is not unlikely that his nephew 
had a share in the work. Or if Theodore had not yet 
embarked on polemics, he must have now become 
familiar with the theoretical ground of the controversy, 
and with the authoritative passages of Scripture and 
of Patristic literature which served as watchwords on 
either side. 

Far the most important work of the Council was 
done in its seventh session, when a decree was passed 
that holy pictures, of Christ, the Virgin, angels, and 
saints, were to be portrayed on vessels, garments, and 
walls, for salutation and honour. This honour, however, 
was distinguished from the worship due to the Divinity 
only, in words that cannot adequately be rendered in 
English, though perhaps adoration corresponds loosely 
to Xar^oe/a, reverence to f jrp<xrKvvvi<n$. Such as it was, 
however, the distinction was already familiar, and it 
was to be used a good deal hereafter. It need hardly 
be pointed out that no representation of the Deity, 
in other form than that of the human Christ, was in 
any way sanctioned or approved. We may observe 
in passing that as yet there was no difference made 
between painting and sculpture, or representation in 
two or three dimensions, such as came afterwards to 
be recognised in the Eastern Church. 

After the chief dogmatic declarations of the Coun 
cil had been made, with the customary anathemas of 
the heretics on the other side, certain canons were 


passed, mostly relating to monastic discipline. The last 
session was held at Constantinople. The Empress and 
the young Emperor signed the decrees, the Fathers 
departed, and the work of restoration, as regards cult 
and discipline, seemed to have been accomplished. 

But there were threatening clouds, some near at 
hand, others in the distant West. Certain of the most 
zealous and uncompromising of the monks were dis 
gusted at the lenity with which former iconoclasts had 
received not merely absolution, but restoration to their 
priestly functions. Chief of the recalcitrants were a 
certain Theoctistus, and Sabas, whom we may probably 
identify with the abbot of Studium of that name. 
Tarasius was in a difficult position. On the one hand, 
the Empress was urgent for a policy of pacification. 
On the other, amid so much shiftiness and want of 
principle, he could ill afford to offend the most zealous 
of his allies. Then again the circumstances of his own 
consecration were not such that he could pose as a 
consistent supporter of the canons ; while the charge 
of simony brought against his colleagues and even 
against himself might be difficult to refute. Any 
hitch would cause an alarm cry against the vali 
dity and the oecumenical character of the Council. 
Tarasius seems to have hedged, to have denied his 
knowledge of inconvenient facts and his responsibility 
for the very light penances inflicted. He is not 
greatly to be blamed if there was, after all, no great 
principle at stake, and if his diplomatic action pre 
vented a schism. True, Sabas and Theoctistus continued 
to be alienated, but they seem to have been in a very 
small minority. Even Plato continued on good terms, 
for the present, with the Patriarch. Still, if Tarasius 
had been able to keep turncoats out of office, he might 


have made a reactionary policy less easy than it proved 
in the sequel. Meantime he professed great zeal in his 
efforts against simony, and on this side he hoped for 
the support both of Pope and of monks. 1 

Pope Hadrian, meantime, withheld his sanction. 
He seems to have been ready to acknowledge the as 
sembly as a lawfully constituted local synod, but not 
as an oecumenical council. Tarasius had made no 
concession about the withdrawn dioceses and " patri 
monies of St. Peter," and again, if the Eastern Church 
had become orthodox as to images, it still omitted the 
Jilioque clause in the Nicene Creed. Hadrian seems 
to have hesitated till his death, which occurred in 795. 
Towards the East he was critical, perhaps querulous. 
But towards the West he became almost an apologist 
for the policy of the Empire. 

These curious fluctuations and combinations are 
seen in the correspondence of Hadrian with Charles, 
King of the Franks. In 790, a remarkable document 
was drawn up by the learned men of Charles s Court 2 
treating of the whole subject of the images and of the 
behaviour of the Byzantine rulers. Certain survivals of 
the theocratic idea, expressions of very exalted char 
acter applied to the Emperor and all that emanated 
from the imperial person were severely reprobated 
by that authority which, within twelve years, was to 
assume distinctly theocratic pretensions on its own 
behalf. The images were justified on what may be 
called common-sense grounds, in virtue of their educa- 

1 The account of these affairs is in the histories of the Council, but it 
is treated more at length by Hergenrother, in his Introduction to " Life 
of Photius," than by most modern writers. Among the chief sources are 
two letters of Theodore, 38 and 53 in book i., which offer many problems. 

2 Libri Carolini; published, as is Hadrian s reply, in vol. xcviii. of 
Migne s Patrologia. 


tive and stimulating effect on Christian devotion, not by 
reason of intrinsic claims to adoration. This does not 
seem fundamentally different from the distinction be 
tween Trpoo-Kvvrjaris and \arpeia ,but the difference between 
a policy of tolerated diversity and one of compulsion goes 
much deeper. Four years after, a Council was held at 
Frankfort, which passed a decree the exact significance 
of which is very difficult to determine. It condemned 
the action of the late Council held at Constantinople, 
in that it had declared that honour and worship were 
to be paid to the icons just as to the Holy Trinity. 

Overlooking the mistake as to place, we can hardly 
say that the theological misrepresentation was the 
result of the density of the Western mind compared 
with the subtlety of the Eastern. It shows, not a 
failure to understand, but a culpable and voluntary 
misunderstanding ; not a confused impression of truth, 
but a clear statement of its contrary. It is not too 
much to say that this has often been the attitude of 
West to East. 

Meantime, it may be that the clash of arms, which 
has often drowned the voice of the laws, had also ex 
tinguished that of theology. In 788, 1 the Byzantine 
Court had actually taken the field on behalf of the 
Lombard Pretender. The year before, Arichis of 
Beneventum had been obliged to submit to Charles, 
after an invasion of his principality, and a young 
Beneventine prince, who, on the death of his elder 
brother, became his father s heir, had been carried off as 
hostage. Soon after, Arichis himself died, and Charles 

1 This was before the sending of the Libri Caroling and may partly 
account for the irritation shown by Franks for Greeks. But it does not 
explain the want of understanding as to the main points at issue, which 
distinguishes the writings of 794. 


adopted the magnanimous and bold policy of sending 
young Grimwald back to rule over the Lombards in 
Beneventum. Grimwald, for a time, remained loyal to 
his powerful patron, so that when his uncle (on the 
mother s side) Adelchis, with troops under the com 
mand of imperial officials, : landed in Calabria, they 
found no support, and were defeated in a decisive 
battle. Adelchis returned to Constantinople, and 
Charles ruled as undisputed King of the Lombards. 1 

Meantime Theodore had rejoiced in the triumph of 
the icons and was not, as yet, inclined to side with the 
disaffected party of Sabas. His uncle was anxious 
that he should receive priestly ordination at the hands 
of Tarasius, probably with the view to his subsequent 
promotion, either as abbot or as bishop. In later days, 
Theodore pleaded the duty of canonical obedience to 
justify his action on this occasion, since Tarasius seemed 
to some of the monks to be still under a cloud. But in 
all probability he felt no compunction at the time, and 
looked forward to an active career in a church now 
restored to Catholic orthodoxy, in intimate alliance 
with the secular authority, and in course, at least, of 
justifying herself in the eyes of the whole world. 

The study is a confusing one. The most abstract 
of speculations on the relations of spirit and matter, the 
most subtle distinctions in the possible attitudes of the 
human mind towards the Divinity, were complicated 
with territorial disputes in distant lands and palace 
intrigues at home. But for the present these were 

1 In Hergenrother s account of these affairs it is assumed that the 
breaking off of Constantine s betrothal to Kothrud was consequence, not 
(as it may have been) cause of Charles s expedition against Beneventum. 
Also the relations between Hadrian and Charles seem to have been repre 
sented as more cordial than we should gather from their correspondence. 
Cf. Hodgkin. 


nothing to Plato and Theodore, for the cause of the 
icons was, to them, the cause of God. If questions of 
ecclesiastical policy and of the supreme political autho 
rities had been adequately considered at the time ; if 
" the letters of the Greeks and the usages of the Roman 
Empire," in which Eliseus instructed the Princess 
Rothrud, had, broadly understood, served as a basis 
for the required harmony, possibly a more permanent 
settlement might have been achieved. However, some 
thing had been done, in that thought and devotion had, 
in some quarters at least, prevailed over physical force. 
And if the assertion of principle against power should 
again be 1 required, certain decisions had been authorita 
tively affirmed that would justify resistance even unto 



THE eight years following the Council of Nicsea, 
stormy and disastrous for the Empire, were probably 
the most quietly fruitful and entirely satisfactory of 
Theodore s life. Not that he and the community to 
which he belonged were so remote from the Court as to 
be kept in ignorance of the party distractions by which 
it was constantly agitated. Nor yet that the external 
foes who were ever threatening even the provinces 
nearest to the " queenly city " herself could be regarded 
from Bithynia with indifference or contempt. But 
rather that the opportunities now enjoyed by Plato 
and Theodore for defining the rules of their monastery 
and increasing its numbers and its influence seemed 
to them to justify the suggestive name of the lady 
to whom they owed this peace and leisure, a name 
which has a strangely ironical sound in the ear of the 
historian. Possibly the restoration of the Church 
seemed to them the great work to be accomplished, 
whether the ruling authority was to be designated as 
Irene and Constantine, as Constantine, as Constantine 
and Irene, or as Irene alone. And the restoration of 
the Church was to be achieved by means of the monks. 
If their view was limited we shall see hereafter that 
it was not entirely fallacious. Here we may notice 
that, in the course of a few years, the community of 


Saccudio had reached the number of one hundred 
monks, living together in order and loyalty. 

It was towards the end of this period of repose 
that a decisive change was made in Theodore s posi 
tion. Up to the age of thirty-five, for thirteen years 
since his first religious profession, he had worked in all 
things with and under his uncle, the abbot Plato. It 
is quite possible, as his biographers would have it, and 
as his own writings suggest, that Plato was much more 
ambitious for him than he was for himself. It was 
Plato who had insisted on his consecration as priest, 
and later, in the year 794, it was Plato who brought 
about his appointment as abbot of Saccudio, while 
he who had practically created the position, vacated 
it, and became a private monk. 1 The story of the 
transaction is not without difficulties. One historian 2 
believes that Plato s retirement from office was the 
work of Irene, who wished for a more pliable person 
to support her schemes, and who proved not for the 
only time in her life deficient in judgment of 
character. Nor does the abdication seem to have 
involved anything like diminution of dignity in the 
eyes of the world. To the chronicler Theophanes, 
Plato is, after this date, still abbot of Saccudio. And 
to Theodore he is still the Father, not in a mere 
personal sense only, but as shepherd of the flock. The 
most probable suggestion is that discerning troubles to 
come, Plato wished to be assured of his successor, and 
followed the example of those Emperors who had their 
sons crowned during their own lifetime. He had 
sufficient confidence in the reverence and affection of 

1 I fail to see the grounds on which Auvray concludes that Plato 
withdrew, for a time, to Constantinople after Theodore s elevation. 

2 Gfrorer, Kirchengeschichte, ii. 177. 


his nephew to rest assured that should he himself 
recover from the illness under which he suffered and 
of which he did not minimise the symptoms the life 
restored would not be one of lessened influence and 
prestige. Under these circumstances he summoned 
the brethren around what he would have them believe 
to be his dying bed, and obtained a unanimous declara 
tion in favour of Theodore. The manner of choice 
can hardly be called strictly legal or regular, especially 
as we have no mention of any episcopal intervention 
or sanction, such as the legislation of Justinian de 
manded. But it was not a time to wait for formalities, 
even if it had not been the case as we know it to 
have been from many contemporary documents that 
the wishes of a dying abbot had a good deal of weight 
in determining the choice of his successor. In point 
of fact, Plato recovered, and for a period of eighteen 
years uncle and nephew lived together as practically 
joint abbots, first of Saccudio, later of Studium, in 
such harmonious co-operation that it is difficult to see 
which was the prime mover in the several actions of 
their common life. In the older man, the frank 
acceptance of technical subordination did not imply 
any shrinking from responsibility. In the younger, 
a bold and independent course of action was com 
patible with most dutiful reverence towards the 
spiritual father from whom the most potent influences 
of his younger days had been received. The spectacle 
they afford of mutual deference with conjoint authority 
forms a striking contrast to the miserable strife for 
power between the two imperial rulers. 

The enterprises of Irene against Lombards and 
Franks in the West had, as we have seen, met with 
nothing but disaster, nor had her troops which en- 


countered the Bulgarians to the North obtained much 
better success. These facts, rather than wicked envy 
aroused by a spectacle of superior piety as an orthodox 
chronicler suggests may account for the state of friction 
in Court and army which favoured an attempt on the 
part of the young Emperor to emancipate himself from 
maternal control. He was now, in 790, twenty years old, 
and he had come of a capable and warlike stock. His 
mother had consistently kept him in the background ; 
she had broken off a matrimonial alliance flattering to 
his imagination and his hopes ; she had bound him in 
wedlock to a woman for whom he felt no affection ; of 
late she had committed all affairs to her minister 
Stauracius, patrician and logothete, whose authority 
completely overshadowed, even in appearance, that of 
young Constantine. Finally, misled, as it was reported, 
by soothsayers, she was trying to secure the whole 
imperial power for herself. But now at length her son 
showed some spirit. He formed a design, along with 
some men of high birth and office, to capture the Empress 
and send her away to Sicily. If they had succeeded, 
it is curious to think what new webs of intrigue 
might have been spun. But Irene was beforehand 
with them, as she had been with the uncles. An earth 
quake gave occasion for a migration from the city, 
and this movement seems to have facilitated the cap 
ture of the conspirators. They were seized, scourged, 
shorn, and exiled or confined. The Emperor himself 
was beaten like a perverse child and kept in solitude 
at home. Meanwhile the Empress continued to intrigue 
with the soldiers, and to impose an oath that they 
would not acknowledge the authority of the Emperor 
so long as Irene lived. But not all the military leaders 
had sunk to so low a point. The decisive opposition 


came from the Theme of Armenia. There the demands 
of the Empress were flatly refused, and the troops de 
clared their loyalty to the Emperor, and their deter 
mination to acknowledge the dignity of his mother 
only in the second place. A certain Alexius, bearing 
the curious surname of Moslem, was sent to pacify 
them, but instead of doing so, he allowed himself to 
be placed at their head, while they imprisoned their 
previous governor and proclaimed Constantine sole 
Emperor. They were speedily joined by other troops. 
Constantine was restored to liberty and established on 
the throne. His partisans were apparently recalled, 
and those of Irene, especially Stauracius, degraded and 
exiled. Irene herself met with the mildest possible 
treatment, being suffered to retire, with abundant 
wealth, to a palace which she had herself built. This 
is reckoned the first year of Constantine VI. 

If only Constantine had at this juncture achieved 
some decided military success, his power might have 
been permanently established. An expedition which 
he led against Cardom, King of the Bulgarians, seems 
to have ended in panic and flight on both sides. He 
next turned his arms against the Saracens who had at 
tacked Cyprus the year before, and were now threatening 
or ravaging Cilicia. But here again he met with no 
success. Very soon after he showed his weak if amiable 
character by yielding to the persuasions of his mother 
and her followers, and restoring her to liberty and to 
some measure of authority, so that henceforth Con 
stantine and Irene became the objects of the people s 
acclamations. A wretched time followed. Alexius, 
the governor of the Armenian Theme, was suspected 
of ambitious aims, scourged and degraded. An ex 
pedition against the Bulgarians ended in failure and 


the loss of some valuable lives, as well as of much 
wealth. Another insurrection in favour of the un 
happy "uncles" was suppressed, but with such bar 
barity as to do more harm than good to the reigning 
sovereigns. Tonsured before, they were now subjected, 
one to blinding, the rest to the loss of their tongues. 
Strange to say, a few years after they are again in 
rebellion, and again captured, this time exiled. Five 
melancholy spectres they flit across the stage, with 
fresh loss of dignity and some added disability after 
every failure, cleaving apparently to one another as 
companions in misfortune. But probably a yet more 
disastrous step was that by which the Emperor brought 
himself into conflict with the more respectable and in 
dependent of the churchmen, in his repudiation of his 
wife Maria, and his union with the lady of his choice, 

This step, we are told by Theophanes, was taken 
by the express advice of Irene, who was desirous of 
acquiring popularity by bringing her son into general 
hatred. If this were her motive, she succeeded ad 
mirably, so far at least as the monks were concerned. 
Certainly they do not seem to have suspected her of 
any share in the mischief. Yet to Theophanes him 
self, after all her intrigues, treacheries, and unnatural 
cruelties, she is still "pious and beloved of God," and 
hence we can hardly suspect him of maligning her. 
Constantine desired his wishes to be carried out in a 
lawful manner. The unhappy Empress Maria was 
shorn and sent to a cloister, and the Patriarch Tarasius 
was asked to perform the nuptial ceremony for the 
Emperor and the court lady whom he was openly 
acknowledging as her successor. 

Tarasius was again in a difficult position, and like 


most weak characters, he endeavoured to make a com 
promise which brought him little favour in either 
quarter, though it enabled him to retain his Patri 
archate. He is said to have opposed the immoral 
and illegal demand of the Emperor, but finding that 
his words were unavailing, to have refused personally 
the performance of any marriage rite, though he gave 
a passive sanction to the solemnisation of Constantine s 
second marriage, with the nuptial crowning, by a certain 
ecclesiastic named Joseph, abbot of the monastery of 
the Kathari, and holding also the rank of steward 
possibly to the Patriarch. The coronation of Theodote 1 
as Augusta was soon after performed by Constantine 
himself. In time she bore him a son who received the 
name of Leo. 

With the endeavour of Constantine to obtain the 
blessing of the Church on his illegal union with 
Theodote, we are again brought into connection with 
the history of Theodore. It is not quite clear why the 
Emperor was anxious to be approved in Saccudio. 
The relation (probably cousinship) of Theodote to 
Theodore may have counted for something ; or the 
somewhat strained relations between Tarasius and 
Plato owing to the disaffection promoted by Sabas may 
have led the Emperor to think whether it might be 
possible to obtain one clerical influence in counterpoise 
to another. Or again there is the possibility, suggested 
by Theophanes, that Irene was working underground 
to arouse a monastic opposition to her son. Or 
Constantine may have wished to clear himself from 

1 The mention of " crowning " in the sense of marrying is confusing 
to readers who do not know that the placing and interchanging of crowns 
on heads of bride and bridegroom is an important part of the marriage 
ceremony in the Greek Church. 


any imputation of a return to iconoclasm, with which 
he seems to have threatened Tarasius, in order to en 
sure his pliancy. In any case, Constantine tried hard 
to secure the support of Theodore and Plato. But they 
had already broken off and separated themselves from 
communion with Tarasius and Joseph, nor were any 
efforts, whether of persuasion or force, of the slightest 
avail to turn them from their resolution. 

The communications of the Court with Theodore 
were made first through another abbot, Nicephorus 
by name, one of Theodore s kinsmen, and later by an 
imperial secretary, Stephen. 1 The beginnings of the 
negotiations with Nicephorus are not known, but we 
have a letter of Theodore s written in reply to one sent 
to him from Nicephorus through a certain deacon. In 
it he deprecates any censoriousness or bitter animosity, 
he only desires that he and those with him may be left 
in their penitential seclusion, though he intimates that 
it is impossible for him to trangress the law. He calls 
Heaven to witness that this controversy is not of his 
own seeking. But his judgment is not rashly formed. 
He is but adhering to the precepts of Scripture and the 
Fathers, and he dare not approve what is contrary to 
their authority. " These things I have dared to open 
to you as to a father and friend ; since we, 2 as God, 
who readeth the heart, knows, are making no declara 
tion we are not in a position so to do nor are we 
indulging in hatred. But we cherish affection for the 
most pious Emperor, and for all my kinsfolk [including 
Theodote?] as one who loves his own people, as you know, 

1 Th. St. Ep. i. 4, 5. We have now the great advantage of Theodore s 
correspondence to guide us. The chronology is reasonably determined by 
Thomas, Th. v. St. p. 51, note 3. 

2 The we is official Theodore slides from plural to singular and back. 


and we make mention of him in the holy liturgy and 
pray for him in public and in private. And we are in 
communion with the Church. May we never be sepa 
rated from her ! Have pity upon me, a sinner and no 
more. I desired to mourn my offences in this corner, 
not to be mixed up with the things of the world. What 
evil is there in that ? Allow me this boon, dearest 
kinsman ; you can, I know. And let me dwell in peace, 
apart from human affairs. By your kindness and skill 
straighten what is crooked, and make the rough places 
plain. And be our mediator of peace, and our champion 
for quiet ; so that whatsoever is profitable for us in 
this matter may be settled according to justice and 


If Nicephorus undertook any such mediatorial office 
he was not successful. In his letter to the next nego 
tiator, Stephen, 1 Theodore feels called upon to justify 
his position of critic or opponent of the higher powers 
by references to instances in Scripture (David, Joab, 
Moses) and to maxims from Basil. The Emperor and 
Empress were not unwilling to pardon, and would even 
have consented to bribe, but the fact of the ecclesiastical 
separation had become real, and the uncanonical act of 
Joseph had not been punished. Harsh means were 
accordingly employed. Plato was summoned to Con 
stantinople, and confined in a cell within the Palace, 
under the oversight of the offender Joseph himself. 
The monks of Saccudio were scattered ; those highest 
in dignity and position, after an ignominious scourging, 
were sent into exile in Thessalonica, Theodore himself 
being of the number. 

To his uncle in prison, Theodore wrote several 

1 I do not feel at all sure that this letter belongs to this juncture. 


letters, to keep up the old man s courage and cheerful 
ness and to describe his own fortunes. They are j ust 
what one might expect from a younger to an elder, a 
man almost in loco jilii to a parent, and at the same 
time from a superior to a subordinate. Along with 
the superabundant expression of deferential affection, 
there runs through them a vein of exhortation, as 
he tries to counteract any tendency to weakness or 
despondency that might have come over the sufferer 
in his present confinement and loneliness. The letters 
bear testimony to the strong interest which the monks 
and their persecutions excited among the people with 
whom they came in contact. A portion of one of them 
may be roughly translated here. 1 

1 Since you ask me to relate everything to you 
minutely, from the day of our sad separation, our 
journey, and all our fortunes though unequal to the 
task, I must not hesitate to do as you bid. On the 
day when you departed, Father, willing to follow even 
the way of death, we also set forth on the way of 
exile, mounted on such beasts as were to be pro 
cured. And at first, being unaccustomed to such ex 
periences, we felt somewhat uneasy. When we came 
to certain villages, we found that while those in charge 
of us were loosing the beasts, resting, and procuring 
necessaries, we were a spectacle to all sorts and con 
ditions of men. Our ears were besieged with noise and 
shoutings. This kind of inconvenience became less 
troublesome when we were used to it. We were more 
distressed by the sickness of our Father the Lord 
Deacon. Thus, in anxiety and fatigue, we continued 
our way. Our course, with halting-places, was as 

1 Lib. i. Ep. 3. 


follows : from Cathara to Liviana ; thence to Leucas ; 
and so on to Phyrseum. There we had a sad adventure, 
which is worth relating : there came upon us unawares 
nine of the foremost of our Brethren, surrounding us 
all in tears, a sight to break the heart. Our leader 
would not permit any conversation. We looked sadly 
at one another, exchanged greetings, wept and parted. 
When we stopped at Paula, we met your much 
honoured sister [Theoctista] with my lord Sabas [abbot 
of Studium?] and held a secret meeting with them, 
which lasted the whole night, with such talk as you 
might expect, for we saluted one another as about to 
die, and parted in sighs and sorrow. There was much 
strain and anguish, though nature was finally over 
come. Thence proceeding we halted at Lupadium, 
where we were kindly received by the inn-keeper, 
who provided a bath to relieve our blisters, some of 
which had become very troublesome. Thence we came 
to Tilis, where the abbot Zacharias and Pionius re 
ceived us with warm sympathy, desiring to accompany 
us on our journey, though that was not allowed. 
Thence to Alceriza, on to Anagegrammeni, Perperina, 
Parium. There we held communication with the 
bishops, 1 and modestly reminded them of their oaths. 
On to Hercus and Lampsacus, where we picked up 
some people from Heraclea, and waited three days 
without being able to sail. Taking ship thence, we 
stopped at Abydos, and were received with piety and 
compassion by the Governor ; we stayed for a week, 
and then sailed to Eleuntes. There we waited another 
week, since the wind was contrary, and when it became 
favourable we reached Lemnos after a nine hours sail. 

1 Or communicated in the ecclesiastical and technical sense ? 


I cannot sufficiently praise the goodness of the bishop 
of these parts, who received us with greater hospitality 
than had yet been shown to us, cheered our spirits, and 
gave us supplies for our journey. 

"Thence sailing in some fear, for we mistrusted 
the natives of that shore, and the north wind was 
blowing and whistling, in twelve hours we measured 
a course of a hundred and fifty (Roman) miles, and 
anchored at Canastrum in the neighbourhood of 
Thessalonica. Thence to Pallene, which lies near the 
Gulf; and on into the Port. Mounting our beasts 
again, we entered, at the third hour, into the City, it 
being Saturday, and the Feast of the Annunciation. 
And what an entry we made ! This too must not 
be omitted. The Prsefect had despatched a Captain of 
the chief regiments with a military contingent to await 
us at the East Gate, where they received us in silence, 
drawn up in line. And when we had entered, having 
shut the gates, they led us through the market-place, 
escorting us in sight of those who had come together 
for the purpose of seeing us, to the presence of the 
Governor. What an excellent man was he ! He 
showed us a friendly countenance, and having made 
reverent salutation, spoke to us with kindly words. 
When we had prayed in the Church of the Holy 
Wisdom, he sent us on to the Archbishop. He, again, 
after prayer in his oratory, being a very holy man, 
received and saluted us, conversed agreeably, and 
provided us with baths and food. The next day we 
were led on, and taking us, as if to prayers, to the 
Church of St. Demetrius, they separated us from one 
another, amid prayers and embraces. Taking us two 
brothers [Theodore and Joseph ?] to the place where 
I am now, they separated us, in tears and embracings 


such as moved the bystanders to pity. Thus are things 
with me, Father. And now I wear on my sighing 
and sorrowful life. I have received the Sacred Bread 
from your hand, as having in it the strength of 
the Holy Trinity. I keep it as a safeguard against 
evil, and feast my eyes on it, as if I were kissing 
your right hand. Again I weep, and my heart sinks 
within me. . . . But what has come over me? I 
call to witness both men and heavenly powers that 
it is the law of God which has separated you from me. 
His command is one and is eternal. Let it resound 
under Heaven. I will rejoice and send forth the 
praises of God. . . . And you, thrice-blessed Father, 
rejoice and be of good cheer. . . . Even the enemy, 
as the great Gregory says, knows how to admire 
the courage of a good man ; when wrath shall cease, 
good deeds shall shine by their own light. Angels 
applaud you, men call you blessed, Christ has received 
you and has opened to you for ever the gates of the 
Kingdom of Heaven." 

One may find some overstrain in the general tone of 
this letter. The persecution had evidently been com 
paratively light, the sympathy shown almost excessive. 
But we must remember that the break-up of Saccudio 
must have seemed to Theodore and to Plato to give 
the death-blow to their dearest hopes, that seclusion 
was hard to a nature like Theodore s, at once powerful 
and tender, and that Plato was growing old and infirm. 
But what strikes us most is the futility of Constantine s 
attempt to stop the spread of the schism. Not firm or 
not cruel enough to strike with a merciless hand, he 
persecuted the monks just enough to give them great 
consideration in the eyes of people generally, not with 
a sternness sufficient to deter others from following in 


their steps. He gave to Theodore that love of martyr 
dom which became almost a ruling passion in his life, 
and stimulated all the recalcitrant elements that had 
already shown themselves in Plato. 

Nor did this persecution make up by duration 
what it lacked in intensity. Irene, helped by her 
ally Stauracius, again plotted against her son, and 
this time with final success. While Constantine was 
in Constantinople, rejoicing in the advent of his son 
and heir, his mother, whom he had quitted at Brousa, 
began once more to tamper with the soldiers. In the 
spring of the next year (797), Constantine again took 
the field against the Saracens. But the campaign 
was rendered nugatory by a false report, spread by 
Stauracius, that the Saracens had fled. The ignominy 
which his failure brought upon him, with the death 
of his young son shortly after, made Constantine s 
prospects dark, and probably encouraged the inertia 
which hung upon him like a fate. About midsummer, 
the final blow came. The conspiracy broke out while 
the Emperor was staying in one of the suburbs. He 
tried to fly to Asia Minor. But there was now no 
Alexius to take his part. With a refinement of 
treachery, Irene negotiated with the few supporters 
of her son, offering to retire into private life, and 
then threatened to betray these negotiations if her 
son were not speedily delivered into her hands. She 
had her will. Constantine was captured, and in 
August 797 he was blinded by Irene s orders in the 
Purple Chamber in which he had been born. He 
survived the mutilation but a few years. 1 

There is hardly a more pathetic figure in history 

1 For the date of the death of Constantine VI. see note to chap. vi. 


than this of the last acknowledged ruler of the Greeco- 
Roman world. It is he, rather than Romulus Augus- 
tulus, whom we naturally set up as a pendant to con 
trast with the greatness of the Restorer of the Empire 
in the West. Constantine was not without estimable 
qualities. He was strong in his affections, moderate 
even in acts of resentment, soft-hearted to a fault. 
He seems, from his fitful military enterprises, to have 
realised his responsibilities as defender of the Empire 
against barbarism. But he was altogether wanting in 
determination, and he did not know how to make the 
most of his opportunities. It is hard to see that he 
inherited anything either from his Isaurian grand 
father, or from his Athenian mother. Had he been 
made of harder stuff, or had he acquired the delicate 
art of intrigue, he might have acted a notable part, 
and the course of the world s history would have been 
different. Little pity has been wasted on his wretched 
fate, which, after all, he had mainly brought upon him 
self. Yet such pity as is due to unaggressive natures, 
all through life the prey of jealous and malicious 
persons who ought to have been their guardians and 
protectors, should be bestowed before all others on 
this unhappy prince, the last of the great Isaurian 

With the triumph of Irene came a monastic re 
action, the liberation of Plato and the recall of Theo 
dore, first to Constantinople, then to his post as 
abbot of Saccudio. Those who feel interested in 
Theodore may experience some regret that they find 
in his writings no word to condemn the iniquitous 
acts which brought about his restoration. How did 
he really feel towards Irene ? Can it be that with 
his readiness to suffer all things for conscience sake, 


to reprove wickedness in high quarters, and to uphold 
at all costs the dignity of the moral law, he should on 
this occasion have sunk to the position of a time-serving 
courtier, and have lavished praises on the head of one 
whom he inwardly despised? Or is it possible that, 
like some of his biographers, he should have been 
ignorant as to Irene s part in the palace tragedy ? Or 
did he so completely identify his protectress with the 
cause he had at heart that he regarded her crimes as 
something almost external to herself, a kind of Nemesis 
by which she fulfilled the designs of Providence against 
wicked doers ? Some such attitude seems to have 
been taken by the chronicler Theophanes, himself a 
sufferer for his faith, who acknowledged the horrors 
that had been accomplished, and the share in them 
which was to be assigned to Irene herself, who tells 
of a seventeen days darkness after the event in the 
Purple Chamber yet to whom the Empress is God- 
beloved and pious to the end of the story. Let those 
who feel sure that their own moral judgment their 
sense of ethical proportion in matters that closely 
concern their personal predilections or convictions, is 
never warped nor fluctuating, be the first to cast stones 
against these suffering monks who saw in their perse 
cution a temporary triumph of evil over good, and in 
their restoration the beginnings of happier times. 



IT was shortly after the return of Theodore from exile 
that the events occurred which, at first seemingly 
destructive to his work, led to his promotion to a 
sphere of larger scope. In the year 799, there was an 
inroad of Saracens, 1 under the leader whom Theophanes 
calls Abimelech, into the country already known as 
Romania, where the monastery of Saccudio was situated. 
They ravaged as far as Mangana, and carried off the 
horses of Stauracius, who was quite taken at unawares, 
as well as one reserved for the use of the Empress 
herself. Thence they swept on into Lydia. Saccudio 
was not, apparently, destroyed, nor even deprived 
of its monastic character, for we find it frequently 
referred to later on, but for the time it was an un 
desirable residence for a defenceless community. At 
the same time, Theodore s friends and followers would 
naturally wish that he should be in a position close to 
the headquarters of imperial and patriarchal authority. 
Consequently we find that in 799, Theodore migrated 
from Saccudio, accompanied of course by Plato and 
most likely by all the monks who had formerly been 
under his rule, and was established as abbot of the 
great monastery of Studium, within the walls of 

1 Theophanes, p. 734 ; cf. Karl Thomas, chap. iv. 



We have spoken, at the outset of this biography, 
of the fine position and the magnificent buildings 
of the Monastery of Studium. Those buildings, 
especially the large church, and also the antiquity of 
the institution, gave it a certain prestige. Yet out 
wardly it was at this moment anything but prosperous. 
The community had dwindled down to the number of 
ten monks. And changes in circumstances, no less 
than diminution of numbers, had made it possible for 
the monastery to take a totally new departure, under 
a rule not only more vigorous than the former, but in 
many respects totally different. 

A glance at the earlier history of Studium will 
make this point clearer, and enable us to discern the 
nature of the scope now given to the organising 
powers of Theodore. According to a good many 
authorities, the founder was a certain Studius, who 
came from Home, where he was Consul, along with 
Aetius, in the year 454. It was most likely in 462 
or 463 that he founded the church, 1 dedicating it to 
St. John the Baptist. He had formerly built a church 
dedicated to St. Michael at Nacolia. He had not 
originally intended to make St. John s a monastic 
foundation, but that step was taken soon after, and 

1 Our best authority is the lexicographer Suidas, whose exact words 
are worth quoting (Suidas, Ed. Gaisford, ii.) : 

SrotfStos, 5vv d(7T7?s 6s ical ryv jrepi^oriT rjv fjiov^v tKnaev. [ C H r&v SrofStrwi povi] 
irpdrepov Ka6o\iKTJs 4KK\ r)(r[a.s TJV [Em. T&V Ka.6. ^/c.], tiffrepov 5 fJ.er7J\6ev eis jj.ovfy ]. 
avrbs SrotfStos dvvdffT^s Krifei rbv vabv TOV apxiffTparriyov Na/cwXeas & $ 

dy\abv olicov 
&v Kd/uLev, eCparo fjacrdov, e\wv virarrjida pa(38ov. 

According to Nicephorus Callistus, these lines were inscribed at Studium, 
and if so, the date of foundation would be earlier than that given by 
Theophanes, Cedrenus, and others. But probably Suidas is to be pre 
ferred. For reference to authorities on the foundation and early his 
tory of Studium, see Eugene Marin : De Studio (Paris, 1897.). 


the buildings were occupied by monks of the order 
called Acoemeti. 

This name signifies " the sleepless ones/ l not that 
the individual members of the community took no 
rest, but that they were divided into choirs in such 
fashion that in their houses the voice of psalmody 
never ceased. The order was founded early in the 
fifth century by a certain Alexander, a man of noble 
birth who had fled to the desert, first to escape the 
world, later to avoid the office of Bishop of Edessa, 
which would have been forced on him. He founded a 
monastery on the Euphrates, enforced strict poverty 
among the monks, and formed seventy of them into a 
band of preachers. Later on he came to Constantinople, 
where his rule was further developed by his successor, 
Marcellus, and where the monks, not generally popular, 
are said to have gained the goodwill of the wealthy 
Studius, who established them in his new foundation. 2 
These early monks were like the later Studites in their 
uncompromising zeal in matters theological, but they 
differed in at least one important particular : they 
were not all obliged to work. 3 On two occasions they 
made themselves conspicuous in theological contro 
versies. In 484 occurred the first breach between the 
Churches of the East and the West which threatened 
permanent schism. The Patriarch of Constantinople, 
Acacius, was formally deposed by the Pope of Eome, 
and it was an Acoemetic monk, most probably a 
Studite, who undertook the dangerous office of bearing 

1 The name is applied in the Greek Church to a candle kept per 
petually burning. 

s For Alexander and the Acoemeti see, inter alia, Helyot, Hist, des 
Ordres Monastiques, i. p. 238 seq. 

3 A good deal of manuscript copying seems to have been done by 
the Acoemeti. 


the decree to Constantinople. The grievance against 
the Patriarch was a supposed inclination to the doc 
trine of the Monophy sites (believers in the " One 
Nature " of Christ) which had been condemned by the 
Council of Chalcedon. So zealous were the Studites for 
the decisions of that Council, that they refused to admit 
a new abbot except on condition that the consecrating 
bishop anathematised the opponents of the Chalce- 
donian decrees. 

The Acoemeti thus helped to keep alive the Christo- 
logical controversies which the statesmanlike Emperor 
Zeno was endeavouring to mitigate. But shortly after, 
their eagerness in the same or a very similar cause 
brought them up to the verge of the heretical swamp, 
or possibly even beyond it. Anastasius, the successor 
of Zeno, almost lost his throne in consequence of the 
violent disputes in Constantinople which followed the 
addition to the hymn Trisagion (Holy, Holy, Holy) of 
the words "who was crucified for us." The doctrine 
that one of the Trinity had suffered was indignantly 
rejected by the Acoemeti. It seemed a natural conse 
quence of their theological attitude that they should go 
on to denounce, with the Nestorians, the term God- 
bearer, rrjv OCOTOKOV, as applied to the Virgin Mary. 
However, before long they came to the compromise 
which ended the temporary schism. Their abbots 
figure in various synods, but they are not conspicuous 
again till the time of the Iconoclastic Controversy. 
Like the other monks, the Acoemeti of Studium were 
exiled by Constantine Copronymus, and we have seen 
that their abbot, Sabas, was among the most uncom 
promising of the ecclesiastics at the Second Council of 
Nicsea, and on the side of Plato and Theodore in the 
affair of the marriage of Constantine VI. 


Studium, then, when Theodore became its head, 
had already traditions of uncompromising and even 
protesting zeal. This kind of zeal is sufficiently con 
spicuous in the later history of the Monastery. Yet 
there seems no reason for regarding the history of 
Studium as continuous. As already mentioned, the 
earlier Studites had but little of that respect for 
labour which was such a marked feature in Theodore s 
rule. On the other hand, I do not find in Theodore s 
arrangements any provision for the perpetual psalmody 
which was the essential characteristic of the earlier 
regulations. One point which we may call a happy 
accident forms a connecting link between the old and 
the new : the Church at Studium was dedicated to 
St. John the Baptist, and it was always a joy to 
Theodore to draw a parallel between the ascetic monks 
who opposed the unlawful marriage of the Emperor, 
and the ascetic prophet who had maintained the cause 
of domestic morality at the court of the Herods. 

We may conceive, then, that as soon as they were 
settled in Studium, Theodore and his uncle began to 
systematise and to develop the rules and mode of life 
which they had begun at Saccudio. We are told by 
Theodore s biographers a good many details as to his 
monastic life and regulations, and we have also a con 
siderable part of the Constitutions which afterwards 
went under his name and were borrowed or copied by 
other communities. 1 We have also the penalties he is 
said to have affixed to the various offences committed 
in the monastery. It is quite possible that a good 
part of these documents was only reduced to quite 
definite form under his successors. More interesting 

Karcurracr^ws TTJS /MOV^S rQiv Srovdlov Migne, 99, p. 1703 seq. 


as being almost undoubtedly his own composition, are 
the iambic verses in which he sets forth the duties and 
privileges of all the members of the community, from 
the abbot down to the cook. His general idea of what 
monastic life, and especially the life of an abbot, should 
be, is, perhaps, most clearly expounded by him in a 
letter to a pupil, of which I give here a general trans 
lation l : 


"Since, by the good pleasure of God, you have 
been promoted, my spiritual child Nicolas, to the 
dignity of abbot, it is needful for you to keep all 
the injunctions in this letter. Do not alter without 
necessity the type and rule that you have received 
from your spiritual home, the monastery. Do not 
acquire any of this world s goods, nor hoard up 
privately for yourself to the value of one piece of 
silver. Be without distraction in heart and soul in 
your care and your thought for those who have been 
entrusted to you by God, and have become your 
spiritual sons and brothers ; and do not look aside 
to those formerly belonging to you according to the 
flesh, whether kinsfolk, or friends, or companions. Do 
not spend the property of your monastery, in life or 
death, by way of gift or of legacy, to any such kinsfolk 
or friends. For you are not of the world, neither 
have you part in the world. Except that if any of 
your people come out of ordinary life to join our rule, 
you must care for them according to the example of 
the Holy Fathers. Do not obtain any slave, nor use 

1 Lib. i. 10. This is in parts almost identical with the "Testa 
ment of Theodore," said to have been delivered to his chosen suc 


in your private service or in that of the monastery 
over which you preside, or in the fields, man who was 
made in the image of God. For such an indulgence 
is only for those who live in the world. For you 
should yourself be as a servant to the brethren like- 
minded with you, at least in intention, even if in out 
ward appearance you are reckoned to be master and 
teacher. Have no animal of the female sex in domestic 
use, seeing that you have renounced the female sex 
altogether, whether in house or fields, since none of 
the Holy Fathers had such, nor does nature require 
them. Do not be driven by horses and mules without 
necessity, but go on foot in imitation of Christ. But 
if there is need, let your beast be the foal of an ass. 
Use all care that all things in the brotherhood be 
common and not distributed, and let nothing, not even 
a needle, belong to any one in particular. Let your 
body and your spirit, to say nothing of your goods, be 
ever divided in equality of love among all your spiri 
tual children and brethren. Use no authority over the 
two brothers of yours who are my sons. Do nothing, 
by way of command or of ordination, beyond the in 
junctions of the Fathers. Do not join in brotherhood 
or close relation with secular persons, seeing that you 
have fled from the world and from marriage. Such 
relations are not found in the Fathers, or but here 
and there, and not according to rule. Do not sit at 
a feast with women, except with your mother according 
to the flesh, and your sister, or possibly with others in 
case of necessity, as the Holy Fathers enjoin. Do 
not go out often, nor range around, leaving your fold 
without necessity. For even if you remain always 
there, it is hard to keep safe your human sheep, so 
apt are they to stray and wander. By all means keep 


to the instruction three times a week in the evening, 
since that is traditional and salutary. Do not give 
what they call the little habit [of novice or postulant ?] 
and then, some time later, another as the larger. For 
there is one habit, as there is one baptism, and this 
is the practice of the Holy Fathers. Depart not from 
the rules and canons of the Fathers, especially of the 
Holy Father Basil ; but whatever you do or say, be 
as one who has his witness in the Holy Scriptures, or 
in the custom of the Fathers, so as not to transgress 
the commandments of God. Do not leave your fold 
or remove to another, or ascend to any higher dignity, 
except by the paternal decision. Do not make friends 
with any canoness, nor enter any women s monastery, 
nor have any private conversation with a nun, or with 
a secular woman, except in case of necessity ; and then 
let it be so that two are present on either side. For 
one, as they say, is cause of offence. Do not open 
the door of the sheepfold to any manner of woman, 
without great necessity ; if it is possible to receive 
such in silence, it is all the better. Do not procure 
a lodging for yourself, or a secular house for your 
spiritual children, in which there are women, for that 
were to run great risks; but provide yourself with 
what is necessary for journeys and other occasions from 
men of piety. Do not take as pupil into your cell a 
youth for whom you have a fancy ; but use the services 
of some one above suspicion, and of various brothers. 
Do not have any choice or costly garment, except for 
priestly functions. But follow the Fathers in being 
shod and clad in humility. Be not delicate in food, 
in private expenditure, or in hospitality ; for this be 
longs to the portion of those who take their joy in 
the present life. Do not lay up money in your 


monastery ; but things of all kinds, beyond what is 
needed, give to the poor at the entrance of your court ; 
for so did the Holy Fathers. Do not keep a safe place, 
nor have a care for wealth. But let all your care be 
the guardianship of souls. As to the money, and 
various necessaries, entrust them to the steward, the 
cellarer, or to whosesoever charge it falls ; but so that 
you keep for yourself the whole authority, and change 
offices among persons from time to time as you see 
fit, receiving account as you may demand, of the tasks 
entrusted to each. Do nothing, carry out nothing, 
according to your own judgment, in any matter what 
ever, in journeying, buying or selling, receiving or 
rejecting a brother, or in any change of office or in 
anything material, or in regard to spiritual failings, 
without the counsel of those who stand first in know 
ledge and in piety, one, two, three or more, according 
to circumstances, as the Fathers have directed. These 
commands, and all others that you have received, keep 
and maintain, that it may be well with you, and that 
you may have prosperity in the Lord all the days of 
your life. But let anything to the contrary be far 
from you in speech and in thought." 

This letter shows sufficiently what was Theodore s 
ideal of an abbot s life, with its privileges and responsi 
bilities, and as it represents accurately his own practice 
and that of all those sent forth from Studium to preside 
over similar communities elsewhere, it enables us to 
grasp the principles on which the great monastery 
was founded. We may generally divide these principles 
under three heads : the establishment of a hierarchy 
of officials, each having his special work, for which he 
was responsible to the Abbot; the minute regulation 


(or rather a regulation which was made more minute 
as time went on) of all the duties and practices of the 
monks, both for worship and for labour ; and the 
constant and diligent instruction of all members of the 
community in the fundamental ideas of the monastic 
life, that their minds might be quite clear as to their 
position and responsibilities, and their hearts warmed 
with enthusiasm for the high vocation to which they 
had been called. 

I. The officials of the monastic community com 
prised the Second in command (rov ra Sevrepa (pepovTa) 
to the abbot, a steward, a substeward, epistemonarchs 
to settle disputes among the monks, epitactae (or 
observatores I fear an Englishman would call them 
spies) to take note of the behaviour of the brethren on 
all occasions, a canonarch to superintend the church 
music, a taxiarch to maintain order in processions and 
other ritual, and sundry caretakers of larder, table, 
and wardrobe, down to the porter who opened the door 
and the excitatores who aroused slumbering brethren 
to their religious duties. In a completely com 
munistic and self-sufficing establishment, which came 
to comprise as many as a thousand members, all the 
numerous craftsmen, builders, tailors, gardeners and 
others, were in a sense public officials. How their 
several tasks were allotted to them is not quite clear, 
but the ultimate responsibility for every man s posi 
tion must have lain with the abbot. When the choice 
was exercised by Theodore himself, who evidently had 
the power of keeping in close touch with a large 
number of widely differing persons, and who could 
use the information supplied by the observatores as 
to the habits of each man, it was probably satisfactory, 
and if not, it could at any time be changed. If only 


the monks imbibed, as many of them undoubtedly 
did, the principles which he had himself received 
from Basil as to the duty and privilege of obedience 
and of " pleasing not themselves," they would not be 
likely to quarrel with their appointed tasks, at least 
while Theodore was personally present with them. In 
the verses to which we have referred, he made sug 
gestions which gave a halo of dignity to the meanest 
kind of labour. Thus those who sewed skins together 
were to remember that they practised the trade of 
St. Paul. The servant who laid the table was to 
regard it as the table of Christ, at which His Apostles 
were to feast. 

Certainly Studium had one of the requisites for 
keeping up esprit de corps and loyalty to the Com 
munity in the large number of office - bearers both 
temporary and occasional. The smaller offices must 
have been very numerous. Thus in Lent there was 
a special brother appointed to go round to all kitchens 
and workshops at nine in the morning, and say : 
l< Fathers and Brothers : we die, we die, we die. Let 
us remember the Kingdom of Heaven." l The elaborate 
psalmody must have demanded attention from a good 
many trained people. Further, there was an officer 
set over the young, who was specially bound to treat 
them with tenderness. These young people were 
probably novices or incipient monks, since we have, 
I think, no trace of a school for secular pupils at 
this time in Studium, though from biographies and 
letters we see how eagerly Theodore promoted the 
teaching of " grammar" and the other liberal arts. 

1 Constitutiones Studianw, 23. In the rule of Atlianasius of Athos the 
exhortation ran : " Let us remember the everlasting punishment." See 
Meyer s Athoskloster, p. 135. 


Care for the sick formed the occupation of at least 
one official, but the sick, as the young, seem to have 
been members of the community. Strangers were 
received, but exhorted not to bring gossip from out 
side into the monastery. Preparation and subsequent 
cleansing of the guest-chamber was entrusted to a 
selected brother. A severe task must have been that 
of the wardrobe-keeper, as according to Studite rules, 
communism extended even to clothes. 1 Every Satur 
day the clothes were brought together probably to 
be cleaned and mended and redistributed. Theodore 
himself set the example of indifference to clothing 
by taking particularly shabby garments for himself. 2 
There was a special monastic penalty against giving 
away an old coat. Of course the ecclesiastical vest 
ments were regarded differently, and were to be decent 
and even splendid. 

But the most interesting, and perhaps for posterity 
the most important of the functions entrusted to any 
of the Studite monks was that of copying manuscripts. 
The services which Studium and its daughter com 
munities rendered to calligraphy will be considered 
later. 3 Here we may notice that among monastic 
penalties are several awarded to copyists who are 
careless and slovenly in their work, and that Theodore 
especially eulogises in his uncle, Plato, the beauty of 
his handwriting and his great industry in copying, 4 
while the biographers of Theodore represent him as a 
most industrious and skilful calligraphist. 

1 It may be doubted whether the weekly circulation of clothes waa 
more than a counsel of perfection. The clothes allowed by Const. Stud. 
to each monk can hardly have all been worn at once. 

2 On the dress of the Studite monks, see Helyot, Hist, des Ordres Monas- 
tiques, i. p. 242. He represents the later Studites as wearing green cloth with 
a double cross of red on the chest. But his information is not very exact. 

3 See chap. xiii. * Theodore s Oration, xi. 17. 


II. The regulation of the daily life of so large 
and so heterogeneously occupied a community was no 
light task. In general, the framework of the monastic 
life was determined by the cycle of ecclesiastical 
festivals and fasts. The fasts were always rigorously 
kept at Studium. Abstinence from flesh was enforced 
at all seasons, but not from wine, though of drink the 
number of cups allowed was always determined. Be 
sides Lent and the " Feast of St. Philip," which roughly 
corresponds to Advent in the West, the Greek Church 
keeps "The Fast of the Holy Apostles" from All 
Saints Sunday (our Trinity Sunday) to the Feast of 
St. Peter and St. Paul on June 29.* Besides these 
seasons, Friday in every week, and perhaps also 
Wednesday, 2 was a fast day. On the other hand, the 
long fasts were lightened by sundry holy days, and 
not only Sunday but Saturday were regarded as days 
on which fasting was unsuitable. Fasting with the 
Studites generally meant one meal a day, and ab 
stinence from fish, cheese, and eggs ; also from wine, 
which was replaced by hot peppermint-water. The 
strictest fast involved abstinence from apples and figs. 
To the slavish modern digestion, the paucity of the 
food would probably be less trying than the constant 
changes of meal times. Thus during fasts the one 
meal of the day was taken at three in the afternoon, 
the brothers having been occupied at their various 
kinds of work since Prime (about six). At times when 
there was no fast but hours were sung, work was done 
till midday, when a meal was taken, and liberty was 
then allowed till two, after which work went on again 

1 For the Greek feasts and fasts, see H E^A^o-m pas by Mdvos. 

2 So Marin interprets Catechesis Chronica, 15. I am not certain about 
the Wednesday. 


till lamp-lighting. There was no specially cooked 
evening meal, but the remains of dinner, with bread, 
served for supper. The time of the first meal during 
seasons when hours were not sung was after the 
liturgy, which began at nine. Apparently during days 
of labour, the monks were not all present at the mass, 
but were summoned after its conclusion to a service 
of song, followed by the benediction, after which they 
went to table. 1 

Of direct philanthropic work, besides doles to the 
poor, we have not much indication in the Rules. But 
from Theodore s letters it is clear that some of the 
monks visited the sick and those in prison and especially 
that they were assiduous in performing the last rites 
for the dead. 2 

The leisure time allowed to the monks was not 
supposed to be spent in idleness, though a midday 
siesta was probably the custom. The proper alter 
native to corporal or manual industry was intellectual 
occupation. "Is it work time?" said Theodore, " To 
your labour. Is it leisure time ? To your studies." : On 
days when there was no manual labour, the monks 
were summoned together by the wooden clapper, which 
figures largely in the Studite rules, to the Library, 
where each received a book for his private reading. 
These books must, under penalty, be restored at the 
appointed time in the evening. There was a special 
custodian of the Library, whose business was to see 

1 I gather this from Const. Stud. 27 and 33, but confess that the 
two passages are not quite clear to me. Dr. Karl Thomas says (Th. v. St. 
p. 63) : " Die Arbeit der Monche war nicht besonders anstrengend." 
But would the learned doctor find it a light task to work metal or to 
copy manuscripts from seven to three, or even from six to nine and two 
to six ? 

2 Lib. i. Ep. 13. 3 Cat. 118. 


that the books were there and to keep them clean. 
Unfortunately we have no means by which to ascertain 
what these books were. From Theodore s own range of 
reading as indicated by his citations one would suppose 
that they consisted mostly of patristic theology, though 
there may have been some secular works, especially such 
as could be brought under the head of " grammar." 

Mediaeval asceticism was, of course, never favourable 
to personal cleanliness. Infrequency of washing is 
mentioned by Theodore as one of the hardships they 
were bound to endure. 1 From the fact, however, that 
there was a special rule against the use of oil in the 
bath, we may infer that a non-luxurious bath in pure 
water was not prohibited. 

There were, either in Theodore s time or soon after 
wards, many rules affixing penalties to unpunctuality 
or slovenliness in chapel or refectory. If a brother 
broke a dish, he had to stand and hold out the pieces, 
while the abbot drew down his cowl 2 [in sign of ignoring 
the offence ?]. The singing of psalms did not go on only 
in the church. This would have been inconsistent with 
the industrial character of the community. But the 
brethren were instructed to sing certain psalms while en 
gaged in their several occupations, an obligation from 
which the copyists were not unreasonably exempt. 

Although there seems to have been a daily celebra 
tion of the Eucharist, there were special "liturgical 
days" on which monks were supposed to communi 
cate or to show good reason to the contrary, and any 
who neglected to communicate for forty days was ex 
cluded from the church for a year. 3 Theodore him 
self seems to have desired to leave the question of 

1 Cat. 128. * Const. Stud. 35. 3 Const. Stud. 62. 


frequent or less frequent communion to each man s 
discretion, though he strongly exhorted his corre 
spondents or hearers to communicate as often as they 
could do so with a clear conscience. 1 

Confessions were heard every day by the Abbot, but 
here again frequency or infrequency was apparently at 
first more or less optional. Theodore was often obliged 
to exhort his monks to have more constant recourse 
to the healing art of the confessor. According to the 
scheme of penances, confession must at least be weekly. 
The penalties imposed for offences were, in minor 
cases, certain prostrations or bows, and restrictions in 
food and drink ; for serious sins, temporary segrega 
tion from the community. Besides the penalties for 
purely monastic offences, we have, in the Studite rules, 
penance prescribed for each of the sins which were 
becoming recognised as deadly, but had not yet been 
reduced to the number of seven. Each sin is defined, 
so that the work forms a short ethical treatise. 

A comparison of the rules with the discourses and 
letters of Theodore suggests that, however clearly laid 
down on paper, the Constitutions of Studium cannot 
have been always strictly kept. It would, for example, 
have been superfluous to inveigh against avarice before 
men who were incapable of holding any kind of 
property even the clothes on their back as their 
own, or to warn against sexual impropriety those who 
had no intercourse with women of any kind. But it is 
quite possible, as we have suggested, that the system 
was not solidified during Theodore s lifetime. Certainly 
the asceticism of the life practised did not keep the 
number of applicants for admission within very narrow 

1 Cf. Lib. ii. Ep. 220, with Cat. Or. 107. 


limits. In general Theodore is said to have adopted 
the maxim : " Him that cometh unto me I will in no 
wise cast out." But it became necessary to have 
certain rules of entrance. All candidates had to stay 
for two or three weeks in the guest chambers till they 
had been made thoroughly to understand what the 
Studite life involved, at the end of which time the abbot 
received them into the community. Knowledge of the 
rules and willingness to abide by them seems to have 
been the only criterion. But surely it was no slight one. 

III. But neither the binding together of the brethren 
by an organised hierarchy, nor the guiding and restrict 
ing of their whole life by a network of rules, could 
have made the Community into a living organism, 
animated by the same spirit and striving after the 
same ideas. As Aristotle had seen that no form oi 
government can be secure unless the citizens are edu 
cated in the spirit of the polity, so it was by incessant 
training, through habits of life and exposition of prin 
ciples, that Theodore created the most influential 
monastic establishment of the East. And this ex 
position of principles, not in the cold light of reason, 
but aglow with the fiery enthusiasm of a prophet, is to 
be found in catechetical discourses which the " fathers 
and brothers" received from the abbot himself. 

Of these we possess one hundred and thirty-four, 
probably selected by one of his successors for reading 
in church, called collectively the Parva Cateche&is, and 
a smaller number from the Magna Catcchesis. 1 They 

1 In the Migne edition of " Theodore " these discourses are r for the 
most part, only given in a Latin translation, and that not first-rate. But 
there is a far better edition, in Greek (with Latin translation, and a very 
appreciative introduction), by M. Auvray, published in Paris, 1891. The 
discourses belonging to the Magna Catechesis are to be found in the Novem 
Patrum Bibliotheca, vol. ix. 


were delivered over a long period of time, and they 
certainly are not, as we have them, in strict chrono 
logical order. But they have a common character, and 
enable us to understand how Theodore acquired and 
kept a hold over his own monks, as his letters explain 
to us his influence with persons outside. They are all 
short and strictly to the point, without the verbosity 
which is found in some of Theodore s letters and in 
most of the longer discourses. 1 They can hardly have 
occupied more than ten minutes in delivery, and were 
preached in the evenings three times a week, and more 
frequently in Lent. Theodore was one of those 
preachers, more often to be found, perhaps, in societies 
where an ornate style is prevalent, than in days like 
ours when simplicity, not to say slovenliness, is gener 
ally preferred, in that his sermons are best when unpre 
meditated and too short to allow of much rhetoric. 
What chiefly distinguishes them is the ring of profound 
conviction, of intense earnestness w T hich is not to be 
mistaken. He speaks under a sense of deep responsi 
bility, for he believes that he will have to give account 
for the souls of all those over whom he presides. He 
has no time to beat about the bush for illustrations or 
motives, no need, as a rule, for argumentative disquisi 
tion. Sometimes he may dwell for a few minutes on 
the nature of the heresies against which, during the 
later part of his office, he and his community were 
continually protesting. But more often he is able to 
rely entirely on the orthodoxy of his hearers, and what 
he feels himself bound to inculcate is the observance of 
the duties obligatory on all Christians and more especi 
ally on those who have chosen the monastic profession 

1 But, as we shall see, the genuineness of some of the longer discourses- 
is not beyond question. 


and thereby cut themselves off from the world. The 
antithesis between the Church and the World is more 
strikingly expressed in his addresses to the monks than 
in his letters to other people. Elsewhere he may say 
that a devout life is possible for a layman, but in 
his own church, addressing his spiritual " fathers and 
brothers," he speaks as if the strict observance of the 
precepts of Christ were only possible to those who had 
completely renounced the world. Two institutions are 
constantly mentioned together, as being tolerated for 
those in the w r orld, but entirely inadmissible for any 
who really aimed at the higher life, matrimony and 
slavery. Yet the argument against the latter, that 
man is " made in the image of God," does not seem 
less forcible for the laity than for the clergy and 
recluses. Obedience and poverty are, in a somewhat 
similar way, regarded as matters to be insisted on for 
a religious community without being incumbent on the 
laity. But in general, it is Christian morality, inter 
preted in the strictest sense, that Theodore is endeav 
ouring to promote in his monks, or rather, to inspire 
them to cultivate in themselves. 

Ethics and theology, with Theodore, are alike 
austere. The transitoriness of life and the nullity 
both of earthly joys and of earthly sufferings are ever 
before his eyes. The approach of death is dwelt upon 
at all seasons. The possibility of a lapse into evil 
living on the part of the most virtuous is always held 
up in warning, though the equal possibility of re 
covery after any number of lapses is also insisted 
upon. The terrors of the law are always there, though 
the promises of the Gospel may sometimes counter 
balance them. The joy of a festival prompts a warning 
against the abuse of any relaxation. The life to which 


Theodore calls his sons is a perpetual Lent of which 
the Easter is to be hereafter. His most comforting 
exhortations are mixed with warnings as to the craft 
and subtlety of the Devil. If he begins his discourse 
with the text, " Sic Deus dilexit mundum," he reaches 
Sodom and Gomorrah before the end. 

Yet above the tone of sternness and sadness there 
sounds a peal of triumph. The self-denying and 
sometimes persecuted monks are, after all, the victors 
in the end. They have overcome the fear of death, 
and their persecutions are welcome as giving them a 
share in the sufferings of their Lord. " What shall 
separate us from the love of Christ ? " and " Eye hath 
not seen nor ear heard . . . the things that God hath 
prepared for them that love Him." These are the 
words that seem naturally to occur to Theodore when 
ever he compares the struggles of earthly life with the 
blessedness of that which is to come. 

If there is more of the fire of Gehenna in these 
discourses than seems natural to a man of sound mind 
and trustful heart, we may notice that the materialism 
which is, perhaps, necessarily associated with suffering 
does not intrude into his conceptions of heavenly joy. 
The glories of the world to come are spiritual only. 
Of purgatorial fire we seem to have no trace. Of 
course, Theodore and his brethren commemorated the 
departed and prayed for them. But it is evident that 
by this time no systematised belief in Purgatory had 
been established in the East. 

Amid his religious exaltation, there is always a 
vein of tenderness in Theodore s character. It is 
evident how intense an interest he took in the monks 
individually, how he delighted in their progress, and 
mourned when they fell away from virtuous living. 


Forbearance and brotherly kindness were virtues that 
he was earnest in inculcating, equally with those of a 
sterner kind. His moral exhortations show a compre 
hensiveness of mind and a large experience. Thus he 
never forgets the great diversity of character among 
the men with whom he has to deal, leading to a diver 
sity in temptation and need for discipline. 

The style of the discourses is terse, pointed, and 
expressive, occasionally rising to eloquence when the 
sufferings of martyrs or some similar theme has pre 
sented itself. They abound in quotations from Scrip 
ture, especially from the Gospels and the Epistles, and 
these quotations are generally relevant and natural, 
without any forced interpretation. The dignity of 
Scriptural thought and language seems to have been 
imparted to the discourses themselves. 

There is a good deal of local colour about them 
which adds to their interest. The Feast of the As 
sumption, apparently used as a market day, gives 
occasion for a comparison between spiritual and 
temporal traffic. The vintage and the harvest, de 
picted in words that show a real feeling for nature, 
furnish illustrations for moral lessons. Events that 
have been happening at the monastery are turned to 
a like end. A threatened invasion of the Abgareni 
suggests the thought that spiritual foes are worse. 
The appearance of a messenger from Court at a time 
when the relations between Court and monastery are 
strained leads to a comparison between the welcome 
and the unwelcome arrival of death. The decease of 
any one of the brethren is dwelt upon, for comfort 
and admonition. Even a slight ailment in the foot, 
from which Theodore had suffered and been healed 
by medical treatment, is used to point a moral : that 



of submitting to a spiritual doctor in the diseases of 
the soul. The hideous and barbarous punishments 
inflicted by the Byzantine emperors are cited to 
illustrate the judgments to be passed on rebels against 
the King of Kings, and may suggest a question how 
far the notions, even of educated people, on the char 
acter of the divine government, may be generally 
coloured by the various manifestations of political 
power to which they have been accustomed. 

One feels throughout that the speaker is entirely 
identifying himself with his audience. If he exhorts 
to fidelity and watchfulness, he is warning himself 
with the others. If they may fall, so may he, and 
there is provision for recovery in all cases. The 
labour of all in the monastery, however different in 
kind, is directed to the same end and is a form of 
divine service. All have been called to the highest 
vocation. Their common sufferings are the earnest of 
common joys to come. Their life is a school, and 
like schoolboys they live in hope of the holidays. 
Or it is a seed-time of which the harvest is to be 
hereafter. Their hardships are joyfully accepted as 
the chastisement of God, and in all their toils they are 
following the footsteps of Christ. That a belief in 
the Divine Government which involves terrors and 
unending sufferings may yet, fundamentally, be a 
religion of ecstatic faith and love, has been proved 
by many great souls of mediaeval and even modern 
times. The seeming incongruity was practically re 
conciled in Theodore the Studite, and in the whole 
community which was animated by his spirit. Like 
all religious leaders, he felt his religion to be the most 
real thing of his life, and his life and influence would 
be quite unintelligible apart from an intensity of 


conviction which may have sometimes worn the garb 
of fanaticism, which may have left scope for many 
unamiable or even unworthy traits of character, but 
which made him a power in the Church and in society. 
He could strengthen others because he was strong 
himself, in the strength which comes of singleness of 
purpose and entire assurance of ultimate success. 



DISCOURSE LXI. (From the " Magna Catechesis") 

THE abundant cornfield delights the heart of the husbandman on 
his approach. Much more is the ruler of souls gladdened by the 
spiritual fruitfulness of those under his charge. Thus do you 
bring joy to me, my children, you who are the field of my 
labours and a plantation of God, by the increase, and as it were 
the blossoming forth of your virtues. And I rejoice to see the 
zeal of each one about his business, the industry and care of 
each in working out his salvation ; the gentleness of one ; the 
laborious industry, even beyond measure, of another; the rever 
ence and caution of a third ; the skill of a fourth in replying to 
the attacks of adversaries, without cessation or weariness ; the 
peaceable character of a fifth, unmoved by passions result of 
peace and calm within, not of outward forcing ; in another, con 
fidence in me, for all my unworthiness, and the disposition to 
regard me as better than I am ; in yet another, a disposition 
untouched by earthly longings or any love of the world; in a 
word, I delight to see the growth and fruitfulness in the spirit 
as shown by all of you in all divers ways. Are we not thus all 
walking together and knit together by our heavenly impulse, 
and by the holy prayers of my father [Abbot Plato ?]. I wonder 
not a little, and surely this is worthy of wonder. Yet I tremble 
above measure every day. For what if God, seeing how idle 
and unprofitable is my service, and waxing wroth against my 
sins, were to withdraw His favourable hand from the midst of us ? 
For then there might come upon us what to speak were unfitting, 
or even to think, such a thing as discord, or slackness of soul, 
or a falling away, whether secret or manifest. 

To the end, therefore, that you may confirm me unworthy as I 
am and yourselves, in the lot of the saints and the inheritance of 

the righteous, and in all good repute, keep to these same things, 

8 9 


my children, or rather press on further still, in discipline and in 
zeal, from glory to glory, from knowledge to knowledge, from our 
citizenship to a citizenship meet for God ; swerving not from what 
you have resolved and agreed upon in the presence of God and of 
the angels, and of my humble self. Let us not become slack, nor 
lose heart if the time seems long though in truth it is not long 
for our life is but a dream and a shadow. And since we should 
become yet more humble and obedient by the study of the inspired 
Scriptures, let us beware lest we be puffed up in the vanity of our 
mind, so as to make our knowledge an occasion of evil, and like 
wise also our power in speech and argument, our experience, our 
skill, our correctness in framing and uttering our words ; our good 
reading, or maybe our subtlety, our skill of hand, our psalmody, 
our learning, our skill in music, our culture, and the like. But 
let the gift of these things be to us rather a cause of fear and 
of self-abasement before God who has given them. For thus we 
shall find God merciful, or rather bountiful, and ready to give 
us yet more, that we may be filled with good things. And we 
shall be a holy temple to God, beautified with gifts upon gifts. 
But if we shall become presumptuous towards God, and seek to 
lord it over our brethren, stretching up, as it were, the neck of 
our souls, and raising our eyebrows and hoisting our shoulders 
and walking boastfully, seeking this or that, judging others in our 
pride and foolishness: asking ever "why are not things other 
wise?" or "why have not I the charge of this matter ?" or " why 
should this man have the management of that business ? " if we 
act thus, we are indeed vain and foolish, and are like those in 
the proverb who pour water into leaky vessels. 

Not so, my brethren, not so. Let us not make our oppor 
tunities a cause of destruction or the day of work a day of loss ; 
nor, when we may mount the walls of virtue, slip down into vice. 
Our opportunity is great, our days are delightful. For they are 
spent in following the commandments of God, in attaining ever 
lasting wealth, in purchasing the kingdom of Heaven. Let us 
run, let us hasten. I exhort you, I beseech you. I would kneel 
before you and implore you as my inmost life and all my joy, 
my boasting and my crown, my glory and praise. Those who 
have affirmed and those who have denied ; those who have 
followed the way for long and those who are new to it ; those 
from distant folds and those bred among us ; all now of one herd 
and one flock, of one fold and one charge, nurslings of one 


shepherd ! Let us think no more of evil that might come. May 
you live thus and strive thus and be perfected thus in Christ 
Jesus our Lord, to whom be the glory and the power with the 
Father and the Holy Spirit now and for ever. Amen. 

DISCOURSE XXVII. (From the "Parva Catechesis.") 

THE time has come for the sowing of earthly seed, of corn and 
of other things. We see men going forth to work from the end 
to the beginning of the night, taking all care that they may sow 
what is best and most productive, that the needs of the body may 
be supplied. And shall we, the husbandmen of spiritual seed, 
sleep our time away, and neglect to sow what we should ? How 
then should we bear everlasting hunger? What excuse can we 
give for our idleness? Let us awake, then, and sow more zeal 
ously and more plentifully than the sowers of natural seed ! 
For he that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he that 
soweth in blessing shall reap blessings. What do we sow ! 
Petitions, prayer, supplications, thanksgivings, faith, hope, love. 
These are the seed of piety, and by them the soul is nourished. 
With the natural seed the husbandman can only be patient, 
awaiting the early and the latter rain. But of our seed we are 
the masters to cause rain and dew our weeping and contrition 
at our will, and as much as pleases us. Since this is within our 
choice, I beseech you, brethren, let us also sow much and let us 
water very much, and let us increase the fruits of righteousness 
that when the spiritual harvest of the unseen world shall come, 
we may fill our hands and our laps with sheaves, and may cry 
aloud : "The blessing of the Lord is upon us. We have blessed 
you out of the house of the Lord. Thou shalt eat the labours 
of thy hands. Thou art blessed, and it shall be well with thee." 

So far about these things. I wish to remind you, brethren, 
that the nights swell out as the days diminish. And as by 
watchings the body declines, so by much sleep does the flesh 
grow in fatness. And as the flesh becomes fat, the passions 
increase along with it. What shall we say then? Each of you 
has a psalm, an exercise, a prayer. Let all things be attended 
to in order, all for the edification of the soul, for the strengthening 
of the spirit, that Satan may not tempt you by intemperance. 
But I say this not as to sleep alone, but also as to food and 


drink, and it may be as to other things. To keep to a fixed order 
without deviation is the best means to keep ourselves whole 
and uninjured. Now that the Emperor is returning from his 
campaign, 1 thoughts arise in our hearts, as we ask " how will 
it go with the things of the Church? that is to say, with our 
own affairs?" But it is written: "Cast thy care upon the 
Lord, and He shall bring it to pass." And " If God be for us, 
who can be against us." He cared for our lives in former 
years, drawing us out of manifold temptations and afflictions. 
So again may He care for us in days to come. Only let us walk 
worthy of the Gospel, having our citizenship in heaven. For we 
are strangers and sojourners upon earth. We have no part nor 
lot therein. For who, coming from eternity, has remained in the 
world, that he might inherit anything? Have not all who have 
come in gone out as from a strange land ? For this is but a 
place of sojourning. Our true home and heritage and abiding 
place is in the world to come. May we come thither and be 
accounted worthy to inherit with all the saints the kingdom of 
Heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be the glory and 
the power with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and for 
ever. Amen. 

1 Auvray thinks this refers to the expedition of Michael Balbus in 823. 
If so, this is one of Theodore s last discourses in the monastery. 




THE years occupied by the quiet, constructive work 
of Theodore and by the sole monarchy of Irene are 
memorable in universal history, since by studying 
them we can attain some comprehension, as to causes 
and immediate results, of the most portentous event 
of the Middle Ages, the Coronation of Charles the 
Great as Emperor at Rome. Strange to say, this 
event is one of which no hint could be gathered from 
Theodore s letters or other writings, while two other 
events, which would seem to us of trivial import, loom 
large in his correspondence and his life, the slightly 
irregular election of a patriarch, and the rehabilitation 
of an unfrocked priest. The former of these matters 
soon subsides into the background, but the second 
becomes the cause of a schism, and calls forth passionate 
appeals to distant authorities and efforts towards the 
formation of a party and a policy. Yet if we look 
at these three events together, those which seem so 
insignificant to us and of such deadly importance to 
Theodore, have their place in the great stream of 
affairs. They indicate, and even in a small measure 
help to determine, the course of circumstances by 
which Eastern and Western Christendom were partly 
sundered, partly held together in tangled and flexible 
cords. The questions as to rival authorities, civil and 



ecclesiastical, which seemed settled, but were really 
opened up afresh at the foundation of the Holy 
Roman Empire, were posed and answered by the 
Studite monks in their opposition to Patriarch and 
to Emperor. 

The story of the coronation of Charles has been 
of late so often and so ably told that we need not 
dwell on it at length, especially as we are only con 
cerned with it as it affected the Eastern Empire and 
Church. 1 The main events, however, may be briefly 

Before matters came to a crisis, it had been 
thought, by some Western scholars with imperial 
traditions, that the title Augustus, with the world 
wide Empire connoted thereby, would be more befit 
ting to the great champion of Christianity and order, 
who ruled over so many Western lands, than it was 
to the comparatively feeble and unsuccessful Emperor 
at Byzantium. True, the title was not absolutely 
essential to the establishment of a great kingdom, or 
even to the union of many kingdoms under one sceptre. 
Alaric the Visigoth, Theodoric the Ostrogoth, Clovis 
the Frank, had ruled over many tribes and over 
widely spread dominions, and so far from aspiring 
to the imperial title, had been content to receive a 
sanction for their power in some conferred title such 
as consul or patrician which might seem slight in 
comparison to the natural name of rex. We read, 
indeed, that Adolf the Visigoth had at one time 
aspired to the imperial title, but preferring substance 
to shadow, had changed his ideal and made it his 

1 See discussion of historical authorities in Bryce s " Holy Koman 
Empire," Hodgkin s "Italy and her Invaders," vol. iii. ch. v,, and 
Gasquet s U Empire byzantin et la Monarchie franque. 


motive not to destroy but to invigorate. Again, the 
most ambitious of Clovis grandchildren, Theudibert, 
is said to have dreamed of an expedition to Constan 
tinople and an assumption of the imperial dignity ; 
but he came to an untimely end. At various times, 
while an emperor yet resided in Italy, one or another 
pretender had been set up by the power of barbarian 
swords. But no great Teutonic leader had ever adopted 
the imperial style. On the abdication of Romulus 
Augustulus in 476, the insignia of his office had been 
restored to Constantinople. The great king Theodoric 
had stamped on his coins the effigy of the Emperors at 
Constantinople. The recovery of Italy and of Africa 
by Justinian had brought the reality more into 
harmony with the theory, and the conquest of the 
Exarchate of Ravenna,, first by Lombards and then 
by Franks, had left intact the claims to universal 
sovereignty vested in the heirs of Augustus. The 
political scheme was not a convenient one. The 
greatest secular authority could only be recognised 
as such by means of a prudent fiction. Yet that 
fiction might have lived longer but for the cruel deed 
of Irene and her unbridled ambition, and if it had not 
come to an end just how and when it did, the political 
ideas and to a large extent the political events of the 
Middle Ages would have been different. As it was, 
the loftiest of titles was bestowed by ecclesiastical 
hands on the de facto governor of the western world, 
and both those who conferred and those who received 
the honour handed down their claims to many genera 
tions after them. 

We have spoken of the foundation of the Holy 
Roman Empire without of course meaning to imply 
that anything was now supposed to be created by the 


action of Leo and of Charles. But the fact that the 
Pope took the first step, and that the new Emperor, 
whatever his wishes may have been, was never acknow 
ledged as either colleague or superior by the Eastern 
power, while his own powers were interpreted as uni 
versal, made the event of Christmas Day 800 the 
beginning of a new epoch. 

Leo. III. had become Pope in December 795, and 
had at once written to Charles a letter promising 
obedience and fidelity in terms that are at least as 
subservient as any that might have been addressed by 
a Byzantine ecclesiastic to his Emperor. Leo was 
unpopular in Rome, and in 799 he became the victim 
of a conspiracy organised by Paschalis and Campanus, 
nephews of the late Pope Hadrian. He was seized 
while conducting a religious procession, and cruelly 
mutilated. The accounts are somewhat confusing. We 
can hardly accept the statement that his eyes were 
pulled out twice, or that his tongue was amputated, 
and that he only recovered power of speech by angelic 
intervention. He must have suffered considerably, 
but not so much that his disfigurement would hinder 
any public functions in future. After a brief imprison 
ment, he escaped to Spoleto. Thence, according to 
some chroniclers, he wrote to Constantinople for help. 
But these accounts are late and doubtful. If such an 
application was made, it received no attention. Leo 
crossed the Alps and was kindly received by Charles 
at Paderborn. After Pope and King had spent some 
months together, Leo was escorted back to Rome in 
princely fashion, and ten commissioners appointed by 
Charles investigated the matters which had led to the 
outbreak. Charles himself did not arrive till December 
in the next year, 800. Leo purged himself by oath of 


the charges brought against him. He was exculpated, 
and the chief conspirators received the sentence of 
death, afterwards commuted for that of banishment. 
Then the ecclesiastics of Rome and the followers of 
Charles consulted together on the next step. Finally, 
on December 25, as Charles attended in state the 
service held in St. Peter s, the Pope placed a crown of 
gold on his head, and all present, Romans and Franks, 
saluted him as Carolus Augustus magnus et pacificus 

Many writers of subsequent times have tried to 
discover the motives of Leo and of Charles, but diffi 
culties still remain. Leo desired, of course, as solemn 
a sanction as possible for the great champion of the 
Church, and he saw his opportunity in what he con 
veniently regarded as the abeyance, for the time, of any 
legitimate imperial authority. One of the Chroniclers l 
states what probably many people believed that 
Charles had not heard of the blinding of Constantine 
and the usurpation of Irene which had occurred three 
years before until his arrival in Rome. The usurpa- 
pation furnished an excuse. Had the throne in Con 
stantinople been held by an iconoclast, a similar ex 
cuse would have been afforded on the ground of heresy. 
Everybody must have seen ;that changing circum 
stances were being used to justify an irrevocable deci 
sion. The Empire had been heretical and had become 
orthodox. The throne was held by a woman and was 
shortly to be filled again by a man. But the people 
of Italy cared not for the Greeks, and the Pope felt no 
brotherhood with the Eastern Patriarch, no deference 
to the oriental ruler. It was to Charles, not to Con- 

1 Of Moissac. The Frankish Chroniclers of this period are mostly to 
be found in the Monumenta Germanix Historiarum, Ed. Pertz, vol. i. 



stantine, that Haroun al Rashid had lately sent the 
banner of Jerusalem and the keys of the Holy Sepul 
chre. He was the one hope and defence of the Church. 
By taking upon himself to accomplish this momentous 
act of coronation, Leo may have seemed to be magni 
fying to its utmost the authority vested in the suc 
cessors of St. Peter, and to have secured for the future 
the co-operation of the principal factors in the Church 
and the world. 

But what did it all mean to Charles? Here we 
may quote the words of his best biographer, Eginhard : l 
" Karl therefore went to Rome, and stayed there the 
whole winter in order to reform and quiet the Church, 
which was in a most disturbed state. It was at this time 
that he received the title of Emperor and Augustus, to 
which at first he was so averse that he remarked that 
had he foreseen the intention of the Pope, he would 
not have entered the church on that day, great festival 
though it was. He bore very quietly the displeasure 
of the Roman Emperors, who were exceedingly in 
dignant at his assumption of the imperial title, and 
overcame their sullenness by his great magnanimity, 
in which, without doubt, he greatly excelled them, 
sending them frequent embassies, and styling them 
his brothers in his letters to them." 

This second paragraph would indeed have sounded 
strangely in a Byzantine ear. That a usurper should 
show magnanimity in styling the legitimate rulers his 
brothers might seem a curious inversion of relations. 
Yet this paragraph throws light on the former. If 
as seems quite possible Charles did not wish then 
and there to be crowned Emperor, the reason for his 

1 Eginhard s " Life of Karl the Great," translated by W. Glaislier, 
chap. 28. 


reluctance was twofold : he did not wish to bear the 
semblance of receiving the diadem from the Papacy ; 
and he did not wish to break with Byzantium. He 
may possibly have foreseen in the former course the 
germ of the long strife between medisoval popes and 
emperors, and in the latter the final separation of 
East and West. 

The proof that Charles did not wish to take up a 
hostile attitude towards Constantinople is shown in 
at least three ways : ( i ) in his cheerful acceptance of 
Irene s own account of the disagreeable affair in which 
she had been implicated ; (2) in his friendly reception 
of the Sicilian embassies who represented the imperial 
authority ; and (3) in his negotiations with Irene, 
which, at least according to the principal Greek account, 
would have led to a matrimonial alliance but for the 
catastrophe which deprived her of power and pos 
sibly of life. The same line of policy as shown in his 
dealings with her successors will concern us later on. 

I. In the Annales Laurissenses, we read, 1 under the 
year 798, that when Charles had returned to Aix he 
received ambassadors sent from Constantinople by the 
Empress Irene (whose name is barbarized into Herena), 
whose son Constantine had been seized and blinded by 
his followers on account of the impropriety of his 
conduct. 2 This is undoubtedly the account which the 
ambassadors gave of what had happened. The object 
of the ambassadors, Michael and Theophilus by name, 
was to obtain the liberation of Sissinius, brother of the 
Patriarch Tarasius, who had been taken prisoner in 
battle. The boon was granted, a sure sign that Charles 
did not wish to pick a quarrel with Irene. He surely 

1 Ed. Pertz, M.G.H. p. 185. 
2 " Propter raorura insolentiam a suis comprehensus et excaecatus est." 


had ample excuse, since the dethroned Emperor had 
been promised to him as son-in-law. But, however 
soldiers and courtiers regarded the matter, it did not 
seem to Charles that the imperial authority was in 
temporary abeyance. 

II. The year before, according to the chronicles, 
Charles had received a messenger from Nicetas, Praefect 
of Sicily, bearing letters from the Emperor. These 
letters may have been written by Constantine just 
before the great catastrophe, and it has been con 
jectured that he was looking to Charles for help 
against his mother. But of this we have no proof. 
Constantine was not one to conceive far-reaching plans, 
nor had he much opportunity for independent negotia 
tion. And besides this, the blow seems to have come 
suddenly. Theoctistus was hospitably entertained and 
dismissed, but we know nothing of any results to his 
commission. Other negotiations with Sicily are of 
ambiguous import. In 799, there was an ambassador 
from Sicily at the Frankish Court, and in 80 1 or 802, 
we find a refugee 1 from Sicily who is at the same 
time an emissary of peace. Theophanes, the Greek 
chronicler, tells us that Charles, after his coronation, 
meditated an invasion of Sicily, but changed his mind, 
and decided on an alliance with Irene. Whether this 
was the case or not, Sicily, so often the battle-field of 
the nations, was not on this occasion to witness the 
decisive conflict. It remained as an appendage of the 
Empire till it fell under the yoke of the Saracens. 

III. The matrimonial scheme of Charles and Leo 
forms a strange episode. The sceptical historian is 
inclined to doubt whether it was quite seriously under- 

1 M.G.H. pp. 187, 222, &c. 


taken. The particulars of the embassy are derived not 
from the Franks, who are silent as to the project of 
marriage, but from Theophanes, According to him, 
the ambassadors (Jesse the Bishop and Helmgard a 
nobleman, as we learn from the chronicles) were ac 
credited agents of Pope and Emperor, to unite East 
and West in the matrimonial union of Charles and 
Irene. They arrived in Constantinople in 802. 

Charles had lost his last legal wife two years before. 
As we have already seen, he had not taken up a position 
of moral censor with regard to Irene, and the proposal 
on his part, if not quite according to modern decorum, 
need not prove that he was guilty of hypocrisy. The 
action of the Pope if the Pope had used the crimes 
of Irene to justify the elevation of Charles and then 
sought to unite the two would have been more repre 
hensible. But we have not the material for a moral 

If the object had been a determination of mutual 
relations between the Empire of Irene and that of 
Charles, we cannot tell what the proposed relations 
would have been. It was no mere question of border 
territories, but of conflicting claims to universal 
dominion, and of the possession of the city that must, 
however fallen in material prosperity, still figure as 
the head and mistress of the world. The fear of what 
might happen if Irene formed an alliance, which could 
hardly have been one of equality, with the great 
monarch of the West, might well have aroused general 
trepidation in Constantinople, apart from the selfish 
aims of particular courtiers. But to understand the 
general state of affairs, we must go back to consider 
the fortunes of the Court and the Empire during the 
sole reign of Irene. 


This period had been full of dangers and discords. 
We have already noticed the ravages of the Arabs, 
which had made Saccudio an unsafe place for the abode 
of the monks. Troubles from the Bulgarians were 
chronic. There was another rising (strange to say, not 
the last) of the miserable, mutilated uncles. And 
worst of all, as rendering the other difficulties harder 
to cope with, and presenting fresh problems of their 
own, were the bitter feuds among the chief ministers of 
Irene Stauracius, Aetius, and Nicetas. 

The last proud moment, perhaps, in the life of Irene, 
was the occasion on which, after the defeat of the 
uncles, she rode on a chariot through the streets of 
Constantinople, drawn by four milk-white steeds, which 
were led by four patricians, while she scattered largess 
to the applauding crowd. But very soon after this 
came the fall of Stauracius, on the accusation of Aetius 
and Nicetas, and within a short time his sudden death, 
which seems to have warded off one conspiracy and 
made room for another. At this juncture Irene had re 
course to popular measures and remitted certain taxes 
due from the citizens of Constantinople, while she also 
lightened the duties (commercia) paid by the ports of 
Abydos and Hieron. It seems possible that her efforts 
to obtain the liberation of the brother of Tarasius, 
already related, may have been designed to render the 
party of the Patriarch now entirely united with the 
Studites more zealous in her support. But neither 
the people nor the Church w r as likely to avail her 
against the ambition of Aetius and Nicetas. Aetius, 
indeed (after obtaining for himself the government 
of Thrace and Macedon in addition to his previous 
offices) had designs of setting a brother of his own, 
Leo by name, on the imperial throne. Possibly he may 


have aimed at inducing or forcing Irene to adopt Leo 
as her son. But any plots of his would prove unavail 
ing if the ambassadors of Charles had their way, since, 
whatever their actual instructions, they were evidently 
believed by the Byzantines to have come with projects 
of marriage between Charles and Irene, and of union 
between the two empires, or rather, since the idea of 
duality was inconsistent with that of Roman imperialism, 
to bind in one the parts which had lately been severed. 
But there was a party in Constantinople opposed 
alike to Charles and to Aetius, at the head of which 
were Nicetas and his brother Sissinius. 1 These seem 
to have gained over some of the military leaders, and 
to have made an instrument of one of the secretaries 
the Chief Logothete Nicephorus. The Empress was at 
that time residing at a palace called Eleutherium, in the 
suburbs of the city. There she spent her last night 
of freedom. For the leading conspirators spread a 
report that Irene, fearing the wiles of Aetius, had 
proclaimed Nicephorus her colleague in the Empire. 
The imperial residence, Chalce, was overpowered. Then 
a band was despatched to Eleutherium to secure the 
Empress and bring her back into Constantinople. 
Her foes were now visible on all sides, her friends 
singularly ineffective. Next day Nicephorus, who had 
already been crowned, attended by several patricians, 
waited on the Empress, with expressions of good-will 
towards her person, of regret at the undesired honour 
that had been thrust upon himself. In corroboration 
of these sentiments, he pointed to his black shoes for 
had he aspired to the throne, they would have been 

1 The name is that of the Patriarch s brother. Does this point to any 
kinship or secret connection which prevented the Patriarch from interven 
ing on behalf of Irene ? 


purple. He promised her a life of comfort and dignity 
and requested her to reveal the place where her 
accumulated treasure was hidden. Irene complied, 
acknowledging Nicephorus as her sovereign, and asked to 
be allowed to live in the Palace of Eleutherium, which 
she had herself built. At the same time she is said to 
have made some devout reflections on the instability 
of human fortunes and the need of submission to the 
Divine will. Nicephorus naturally took possession of 
the treasure. He would not allow her, however, to re 
tain Eleutherium, but confined her in the monastery 
which she had founded in the Island of Princeps. 
Subsequently she was removed to Lesbos, where she 
soon afterwards died. 

Meanwhile what were Charles s ambassadors doing ? 
Why did not he choose the moment of confusion to 
rescue the lady who was quite ready to become his 
bride, and to reseat her, with himself, on the throne as 
it would henceforth be of a united Christendom ? And 
what was the Church doing ? Was Tarasius, who had 
received so much good at the hand of Irene, were Theo 
dore and Plato, who had by her been restored to liberty 
and honour, and who were only too ready to ignore her 
worst offences, utterly unmindful of her cruel fate ? 

The answer seems to be that neither of these 
parties was satisfied, but that both were compelled to 
hide their feelings and to await the course of events. 
The Prankish ambassadors were sent home. Charles 
was not even now determined to break with Byzan 
tium, and, as we shall see, he renewed his efforts for 
an alliance, even after Irene had been deposed and super 
seded by Nicephorus. The ambassadors had probably 
told him that there was no element or party in Con 
stantinople on which he could rely. 


But was there not a party in the Church ready 
to support his policy and that of Pope Leo? Un 
doubtedly there were many who, according to Theo- 
phanes, " living in piety and reason, wondered at the 
Divine judgment, which had permitted that a woman 
who had struggled and suffered for the true faith 
should be ousted by a swineherd" (an epithet not to 
be taken literally). These were undoubtedly the feel 
ings of Theodore, who had shortly before written a 
panegyrical letter to Irene on the occasion already 
mentioned of the remission of the tribute. But what 
was he to do ? Nicephorus did not wish to break with 
the monks at any rate for the present. The Patriarch 
had, as before, shown a want of backbone. We find 
him, soon after, crowning the son of Nicephorus as 
joint-Emperor, and he is mentioned as negotiating for 
an amnesty to be granted to some insurgents. The 
Studite monks were acting for the time in concert 
with the Patriarch, and were included in the new 
Emperor s apparent good-will. But they, at least, were 
not often found to be invertebrate. Why did not 
they rally round Irene ? 

The answer is not an easy one. We may suggest 
that possibly they did not entirely believe in Irene 
after all, except in so far as she represented orthodoxy, 
and the best chance would be given to orthodoxy if 
they remained in alliance with Nicephorus and held 
back any possible movements towards an iconoclast 
policy. But even if they had felt confidence in Irene, 
or in Irene and Constantine, how would they feel with 
regard to Irene and Charles, or as it surely would have 
come about in the end, to Charles and Irene ? Those 
who know Theodore s standpoint with regard to Rome 
as taken up in the controversy which was to follow 


his recognition of the Pope as successor of St. Peter, 
and as the highest spiritual authority may wonder 
whether he might not have concerted measures with 
Leo s delegates. But we must remember that at this 
time Tarasius was alive, and was, in a sense, Theodore s 
superior, also that the Western Church had never 
entirely accepted the Second Council of Nicaea. Pos 
sibly there may have been a rapid growth of Theo 
dore s notions as to Papal supremacy owing to the 
visit of the Roman legates to Byzantium, and to the 
light in which they would probably represent the Pope, 
as the acknowledged superior of the secular power. 
But, however this may be, Studium weathered the 
storm, and Theodore s work as abbot seems to have 
been little affected by all the turmoil around. 

The policy of Nicephorus, in matters political and 
ecclesiastical, is not easy to unravel. Perhaps we may 
safely set him down as an opportunist, who had not 
long anticipated his elevation, and had no very definite 
programme. His ancestors, according to tradition, had, 
from personal motives, abandoned first the Christian 
and then the Mohammedan faith. He was said, by 
the monastic party, to be orthodox in semblance only. 
Some l have regarded him as a tool of the iconoclasts, 
yet he does not seem to have taken any steps towards 
a distinctly iconoclastic policy, and, as we have seen, 
he was careful to remain on good terms with the 
Patriarch. The lenient treatment of the Manichees 
for which Theophanes reproaches him, may possibly 
mark some inclination in that direction, and doubtless 
other acts of his may be interpreted in the same light. 
But he was all through his brief reign in embarrassing 

1 Notably Gasquet. 


circumstances. The frugality with which he tried to 
remedy the effects of Irene s lavishness was naturally 
construed as avarice, yet it did not suffice to maintain 
effectual resistance to the Saracens over whom Haroun 
al Rashid was now reigning at the highest point of 
magnificence nor even to overawe the Bulgarians. In 
one quarter, indeed, the Empire held its ground, though 
not till after some reverses, and that chiefly by the co 
operation of local patriotism. The war between East 
and West, which paved the way for a partial recognition 
of the co-existence of two Empires, was carried on not 
as originally seemed most probable in Sicily, but 
in the neighbourhood of the Venetians. Nicephorus 
had sent his ambassadors to accompany the returning 
embassy from Charles, but no definite pact was ob 
tained. Meantime, Venetia had been stirred by the 
rival claims, and a party had appealed to Charles. 
The story of the struggle for Venice, which was lost 
to the Empire in 806, recovered for Nicephorus by the 
patrician Nicetas in the same year, practically aban 
doned again after the invasion of Pippin in 810, but 
finally, by the arrangement of 811, left under the 
permanent lordship of the Emperors at Constantinople, 
only indirectly belongs to our subject. It is remark 
able chiefly in the history of culture as marking the 
future situation, and the beginning of what we may 
call the ducal independence of the city of Venice. 1 It 
is memorable in the history of East and West, because 
in the correspondence and negotiations to which the 
whole affair gave rise, we have statements made by 
those in authority which recognise the fact of a politi- 

1 Duke Agnellus, or Angelo Participazio, was elected under the 
presidency of the Byzantine Spatharius, Arsafius, and ruled for sixteen 


cally divided Christendom, and allow us hereafter to 
speak of an Eastern and a Western Empire. In a 
notable letter of Charles, written early in 8 1 1 , l he 
expresses his disappointment that the efforts made in 
the first year of Nicephorus " to make peace with us, 
and to join and unite these two [what? would he say 
Empires ?] in the love of Christ " had not been crowned 
with success. But now he hopes for better things. 
The delimitation of frontier was made, although the 
ultimate recognition of two distinct spheres of govern 
ment was not made with Nicephorus, but was left to 
his successor. 

Meantime, Nicephorus had a sufficient task on his 
hand to replenish his coffers, and to conciliate parties 
at home. It is possibly to both of these motives that 
we may attribute an action of his, to which little at 
tention was directed at the time : he brought the 
miserable Constantine VI. out of his place of retire 
ment and received him as his guest in the palace. 2 
His object, according to the unfavourable historian 
who relates the incident, was not to show pity, but 
to discover hidden treasure, and here Constantine, with 
his usual simplicity, served his purpose, for he revealed 
to him that much wealth lay hidden in a place called 
the Sigma, hidden under marble slabs. After the in 
formation had been given, Constantine was of no more 
account. Now it seems an unusual step to employ a 
blind man in seeking for treasure, though, of course, 
Constantine may have known of old all the ins and outs 
of the palace. But it seems more probable, if we take 
this story in connection with the subsequent conduct 
of Nicephorus, that he had ulterior views. The name 

1 Partly translated in Hodgkin, vol. viii. p. 246 seq. 

2 Theophanes Continuator. Bonn edition, p. 31. 


of Constantine s grandfather was still potent among 
the soldiers. Again, Constantine also seems to have 
had a child, or children, by Theodote, who had been 
pronounced illegitimate, but whom Nicephorus might 
possibly befriend and find useful. 1 However, if there 
was any such prospect in view, it was not realised. 
Constantine died early in the reign of Nicephorus, 
and his body was given for burial to his first wife 
Mary, while his child was pronounced illegitimate. 2 
This decision seems to have been made at some council 
held by the orders of the Emperors Nicephorus and 
Stauracius, Theodore himself being present, and the 
whole affair suggests an attempt at a new departure 
made by Nicephorus, and a temporary reversal of 
policy forced upon him by the party of the Patriarch 
and the monks. The legitimate child of Constantine, 
Euphrosyne, lived and took the veil. But, like others 
of her race, she underwent various experiences. We 
meet her again in Byzantine history as the wife of 
Michael II. 

In the year 806, the Patriarch Tarasius died, and 
it was extremely important to all parties who should 
become his successor. It is difficult to understand how 
the historians of the monastic party eulogise his char 
acter, since he seems all through to have acted a weak 
part. But we must remember that he had^a difficult and 
complicated role to play, and after all, it may have been 
due to his influence that the change of dynasty was ac 
complished without bloodshed, and that any renewal of 
iconoclastic persecution was postponed till after his death. 

1 Possibly the child pronounced illegitimate may have been Leo, who 
died in infancy. 

2 See very important letter of Theodore, i. 31. Cf. note at end of 
this chapter. 


The object of the Emperor seems to have been to 
find a man who would further him in his desires of 
asserting a more independent ecclesiastical policy than 
had been possible for him while Tarasius was backed 
by Theodore. At the same time, wishing to stand 
well with Studium, he desired that his candidate 
should be approved by the monastic leaders, and 
actually asked the advice of Plato l on the appoint 
ment to be made. It seems most probable that he 
demanded the opinions of both Plato and Theodore, 
as practically colleagues in the government of Studium, 
since we have a reply which they drew up jointly, 
though in all probability it was the work of the 
younger man. 2 This document is remarkable as an 
Eastern manifesto of the relations of Church and 
State. Its language reminds us more of Rome than 
of Byzantium, and suggests that the Studites had 
seen something of Pope Leo s ambassadors during 
their sojourn in Constantinople. 

They begin by congratulating Nicephorus on having 
been divinely appointed to rule over "the Christians" 
(/3aa-i\Viv TWV yj)i<TTiavuv. Is this a tacit denial of 
Charles s concurrent claims ?) in order that the secular 
government might be delivered from its evil condition 
and that the leadership of the Church (>i Kara Ttjv 
EiKK\rj(riav rjjefjLovla)^ if it were in any way failing, might 
be restored. With regard to the world, he had accom 
plished his mission. It was now his turn to see to 

1 Th. St. Or. xi. 34. 

2 Lib. i. Ep. 1 6. It is not quite easy, though by no means impossible, 
to reconcile this letter with Theodore s statements in the Panegyric on 
Plato. In the former no candidate is named. In the latter, Plato is 
said to have given a vote. Perhaps the demand for a vote was subsequent 
to the letter. It is rather strange that the transaction should be absent 
from the "Lives" of Theodore. 


the interests of the Church by approving a lawful 
and free election to the vacant see. The writers have 
no candidate of their own, though they doubt not 
that suitable men are to be found. The qualification 
on which they lay stress is that the person to be 
chosen should have regularly ascended the successive 
grades of the hierarchical ladder, in order that, having 
been tempted in all things like the lesser clergy, he 
should be able to succour those that are tempted. The 
choice should be made by a select council of leading 
men both of the higher clergy and of the hermits and 
monks. The choice of these councillors was apparently 
to be made by the Emperor, but it was practically 
laid down that the whole body of the clergy was to 
be consulted. Even the Stylites were to descend from 
their pillars, 1 the recluses to come forth from their 
retirement, to take part in a measure which concerned 
the common good. With their advice the Emperor 
was to choose the fittest person. So would he (or 
they, for Stauracius seems to be included in the 
address 2 ) be blessed and thrice - blessed, and the 
Empire likewise. Finally comes the clear statement 
of their conception of Church and State, with a pointed 
practical application : " Since God has bestowed on 
Christians two gifts, the priesthood and the empire 
\j.epwvvvriv KGU /3a<ri\ciav] t by means of which terrestrial 
things are ordered and governed even as things celes 
tial, whichever of the two fails, the whole must needs 
be imperilled. Wherefore, if you wish to acquire the 
greatest goods for your Empire, and through your 

1 They are to come down. Thus it is evident that the Stylites, who 
formed, apparently, a distinct order, dwelt habitually on their columns, 
not within them. 

2 The expression is curious : KO.I /ACUC</HOS eT, fj.5X\ov dt Kal T/3t<r/4a/ed/>ioi. 


Empire for all Christians, let the Church receive as 
her president one who equals, as far as possible, the 
imperial excellence. So shall the Heavens rejoice and 
the Earth be glad." Adulatory language, even when 
the meaning is anything but adulatory, tends to be 
come ambiguous. Did the abbots mean to say : let 
somebody be chosen who is as good, if possible, as 
yourselves ; or, let a head of the Church be chosen 
equal in dignity to the head of the State ? We seem 
to find in the East also a conception of the Holy 
Roman Empire and a Holy Roman Church whose 
respective heads should possess co-ordinate authority 
over things secular and things spiritual. 

It need hardly be said that Nicephorus had no 
mind for a free election, 1 still less for the appointment 
of one who should be a colleague equal to himself. He 
had already found his man, a member of the official 
circle, who bore his own name, Nicephorus. Apart 
from his being a layman, there was no objection to 
this Nicephorus, who seems to have been orthodox 
personally and by parentage, and of general respecta 
bility. Plato, however, refused to accept his candi 
dature, but made a nomination which the clergy were 
ready to accept, but which the Emperor rejected. It 
has been supposed that the person whom he nominated 
was Theodore himself. The words in which Theodore 
tells of the transaction may seem to favour that view : 
"He sent his vote to whom it was given I forbear 
to say, but he sent it as in the presence of God." 1 
Still, if his nominee had been some other person such, 
for instance, as Joseph, Theodore s brother, afterwards 

1 Yet he seems to have observed the forms of one, since according to 
Theophanes, Nicephorus was chosen by the vote of clergy and people. 

2 Or. xi. 34. 


Bishop of Thessalonica it might still have been un 
desirable to mention his name. The approval which 
the nomination received among the clergy is difficult to 
explain. Probably the conclave was small and secret. 
In any case, Plato seems to have exerted himself 
considerably, as he secretly left the monastery to use 
his influence with a monastic friend about Court. 
On his return, he and Theodore were both seized 
by the order of the Emperor and kept in custody for 
twenty-four days that is, until preliminary matters 
were settled and the ordination and consecration of 
the new Patriarch were accomplished. When this was 
over, they returned in no placid mood, yet they both 
thought it their duty to yield to the inevitable. This 
was not a matter sufficient to cause a schism. In fact 
the appointment of laymen to important episcopal 
sees had probably been of late rather the rule than 
the exception. But they had asserted their principle. 
The time was at hand when the imperial policy would 
bring the hidden discontent to light and would force 
to a decisive issue the rival claims of the imperial and 
the ecclesiastical power. 


The death of Constantine VI. must have occurred some time 
between the accession of Nicephorus and the final breach between 
the Emperor and the Studites. The story quoted above from the 
Continuator of Theophanes gives the earlier limit. The latter is 
supplied by the letter of Theodore to the Community of Saccudio, 
which Baronius places in 808, but which refers to events that had 
occurred some time earlier. The important words are these : 

avOt.<s [6 Kvpios] v8oKr)(TV OL7roOKi[JLa<r&fjvai rrjv 7ri;(a/> 
Ttov fJLOi\oVKTiov /cat pot^L^iXiov Naipa<W, Scot rrjs TWV 
v T^/XCOV /3a(riA,a)v Si/ccuo/c/aicrias aTroSaxrat/Twi , /xera rov Ba.vo.rov 



rov IAOI XOV TQ voju,t/xo) avTov ya/^ry aTro/caAecravTwv 8e TTJV 
fjLOL\aXiSa Kal TO jjLOixoyevvrjTOV TCKVOV, tao-ai/Toov a/cA^pov, a>s 
Kal avo/xomxTOV * ws ev cTn^Koa) /AOI TO TI/UOV auT(oi> crroaa 
Kara TOVS Pto/xaiVcovs 

This letter seems to show that there had been a meeting to 
decide on the matter under Nicephorus and Stauracius. The 
superscription is rather puzzling, as it is to the Brothers in 
Saccudio, a point to which we shall recur. 

The opinion that Constantine died almost immediately after 
the blinding must be attributed to the expression of Theophanes : 
Tv<f>Xov(Tiv avrbv Setvtus /cat dvtarws Trpos r5 a.7ro0aveiv onrrov, which 
does not, of course, imply that death followed immediately. The 
view that he lingered on till about 820 A.D. is derived from a 
passage in the Continuator of Theophanes (ii. 10), who says, of 
the conspirator Thomas, who raised a rebellion against Michael 
II., that he feigned himself to be Constantine, son of Irene, 
who r^VLKavra 8e Kal TOV /3iov /lerryAXa^ws >Jv. 

The TYjviKavra is repeated by Cedren (Ed. Bonn. p. 75). On 
the other hand, and confirming the opinion we shall derive from 
Theodore, is the statement of Genesius (Migne, Pair. Gr. 109. 
^5): KOU e dvOpuTTwv rj<f>dvLO-Tai /zero, Spa^y rrj<s CKTTTiucrews, Kal o 
ve/cpbs iv rivi KarereOrj (roptp Tore Ttuy v rfj f3ao"i\vovo~rj 

The ex-empress Maria does not seem to have felt very proud 
of her melancholy present. 

[Since writing this note, I have found that Dr. G. A. Schneider 
quotes the above cited letter of Theodore (i. 31) to prove the date 
of Constantino s death. Theodore von Studium, p. 25, note i.] 





IF Nicephorus had been somewhat more wary in his 
ecclesiastical policy, he might, throughout his reign, 
have had the Church on his side. The reasons why 
he took measures which were certain to alienate the 
monastic influence are not clear. We can assign 
three possible causes : he may possibly have desired 
a trial of strength, in order to assert his authority. 
This view is adopted by many historians, but does 
not seem altogether probable. Or he may have been 
actuated by a political motive, and have wished to 
secure the fidelity of those who looked back with 
regret to the days of the strong Isaurian Emperors. 
It is noteworthy that more than fifty years later, two 
successive pretenders arose, claiming to be the de 
throned (and unblinded?) Constantine. That name 
was still a potent one to conjure with. Or there may 
have been lurking in his mind a possible return to 
the policy of iconoclasm. Charity might suggest a 
fourth hypothesis: that Nicephorus only desired to 
unite all parties and make them promise to let by 
gones be bygones. But if this was his object, he 
appears in the light of an exacting and persecuting 


advocate of toleration, a character after all not un 
known to history. He was tolerant to heretics of 
certain types, and thereby vexed his orthodox sub 
jects. The sovereign of a distracted realm must often 
feel drawn to seek for unity by means of toleration, 
but when such means are taken as are contrary to 
law and privilege, all the liberty-loving instincts of 
the people will join hands with their fanatical passions 
to oppose the suggestion. In the Eastern Empire 
there was not much liberty in the state nor in the 
bishops and clergy, but there was still a spirit of 
freedom and a sense of spiritual equality surviving 
among the monks. Religious innovations called forth 
a constitutional opposition such as was impossible in 
secular matters. In attempting to use imperial autho 
rity to allay strife as to points of doctrine, two strong 
Emperors, Zeno and Justinian, had signally failed. 
Nor was Nicephorus likely to succeed in asserting 
his authority on a question of ecclesiastical discipline. 

In narrating the course of the controversy between 
the Emperor Nicephorus and the Patriarch on the one 
hand, and the monks on the other, we may say at 
the outset that the exact order of events is not to be 
determined with absolute precision, since our data 
are somewhat scattered. It is easy, however, to dis 
cern the main current of affairs and the part played 
by each of the principal actors in the drama. 1 

1 Our sources are, of course, Theophanes (though he seems to regard 
Theodore and Plato as out of communion with the Patriarch all along, 
on account of his uncanonical appointment) ; a good many letters of 
Theodore, seemingly written with a present object ; others narrative and 
retrospective ; his life of Plato, and the two lives of Theodore himself. 
For all this part I have found Karl Thomas in general a very serviceable 
guide. Marin seems to regard the whole dispute as a continuation of 
that regarding the election to the patriarchate, but I think that Theodore s 
letters to the Patriarch are here quite decisive. 


It seems to have been soon after the appointment 
of the Patriarch Nicephorus that the Emperor began 
to devise means for restoring to the priesthood the 
man who had been the scapegoat in the last contro 
versy the steward Joseph. This might be done, he 
considered, by the Patriarch, in virtue of a special 
dispensation or act of grace (oucovofjua). Nicephorus 
the Patriarch showed no objection, and held a small 
council, chiefly of bishops, to decide on the matter. 
Theodore was in custody, but was brought out of 
the place of confinement where he lay owing to the 
former troubles, to be present on the occasion. 1 The 
following day, fearing that the meaning he had ex 
pressed had not been made clear, he wrote a letter 
to the Patriarch. 2 In this letter his attitude is mainly 
apologetic. He does not repeat the arguments which 
he had stated the day before, but explains his personal 
position. He is anxious not to appear fractious or 
inflexible. He is willing even to admit of dispensa 
tions in special cases where there is just cause for such. 
His acceptance of the apologies made by Tarasius 
and his acknowledgment of the office of the present 
Patriarch show his disposition in that respect. Though 
his language is full of deference, and though he appeals 
to Nicephorus, as a good shepherd, to exclude one 
diseased sheep from the fold, lest the whole flock 
should be infected, yet there is a threatening tone in 
his language: "We testify to your Holiness in the 
presence of Christ and in the hearing of the holy 
angels, that you are causing a great schism in our 
church. If, being men, we bow to authority, yet it 
is by the authority of the sacred and divine canons, 

1 This has been gathered from Lib. i. Ep. 25. 
2 Lib. i. Ep. 30. 


knowingly, or against our will, that we are ruled and 
are obliged to live." 

By action, even more than by words, Theodore 
showed that he did not wish to push matters to 
extremities. For two whole years, 1 apparently, it 
was possible for Theodore to refrain from communi 
cating with the Patriarch and yet to avoid an open 
breach. As he repeatedly declared, it was not really 
with the Patriarch that the offence lay, nor yet with 
the Emperor, but with the steward Joseph. As things 
were, however, to communicate with the Patriarch 
would have been, in his own eyes and those of the 
world, to communicate with Joseph, and to offend 
against canonical law. 

The crisis was brought about, apparently, on the 
return of the Emperor from an expedition against the 
Saracens, in 808, when the Master of the Public Post 
conducted an inquiry into Theodore s conduct in thus 
holding aloof. At the same time he made similar 
complaints against Theodore s brother Joseph, who had 
just been made Bishop of Thessalonica. When Joseph 
replied that he had nothing to say against either the 
Pious Emperors or the Patriarch, only against the wicked 
steward, the Logothete replied somewhat brusquely : 
" The Pious Emperors do not want you, either in 
Thessalonica or anywhere else." This amounted to a 
declaration that Joseph had been deprived of his see 
by the imperial authority. He had already had to 
send an apology for having accepted it, 2 and had been 
forbidden to come to Court. His plea was that the 

1 806-808. Ep. 25. Theodore in his letters mentions a long delay 
before his sentiments were declared. See especially Ep. 31. 

2 Lib. i. Ep. 23. To Simeon the Monk, who evidently stood high 
in the Emperor s favour and employment. 


people of Thessalonica had sent a special deputation 
begging him to take it, and that the Emperors had 
given their consent. It would have been wrong to 
shirk the task, though he would personally have pre 
ferred waiting till the question of the steward was 
settled. This excuse, however, did not satisfy the 
Emperor. Joseph had to suffer for the cause, and 
throughout the conflict stood by his brother, who, in 
addressing him, expresses, along with much brotherly 
affection, all the deference due from an abbot to a 

With regard to the main issue, the Studites had 
plenty to say to the Master of the Post, and to other 
interrogators. The ground on which Theodore stood 
was the fact that the steward Joseph, having been 
guilty of an uncanonical act, could not be released from 
the ban under which he lay, and restored to the priest 
hood, by means of the secular authority. As regards 
the point immediately in question, the matter seemed 
a small and personal one. But it rested on two great 
principles : that the rules of ordinary morality are as 
binding on sovereign princes as they are on private 
individuals : and that ecclesiastical censures can only 
be removed by the free action of the ecclesiastical 

With regard to the illegality of Joseph s act, 
Theodore quoted a canon which forbade a priest to 
take part in a wedding feast in the case of a second 
marriage. How much more must he refrain from so 
doing when the marriage is actually of a bigamist ? 
He cited the beautiful words of the Eastern marriage 
service, to show the profanity of applying them in 
a wedding of this kind : " Stretch forth Thy hand, 
Lord, from Thy holy habitation, and join this 


Thy servant to this Thy handmaid. Bind them to 
gether in unity of mind. Make those whom Thou art 
pleased to join to be of one flesh. Let this marriage 
be honoured. Keep their bed undefiled. Be pleased 
to let their dwelling together be without offence, in 
purity of heart." 

The excuse that Joseph had acted at the bidding 
of the Patriarch was no excuse. If the ceremony were 
a lawful one, why did not Tarasius perform it himself ? 
The unlawfulness had been recognised in Joseph s 
double degradation. True, there was a time for res 
toration. But Joseph ought to have applied within a 
year of his degradation, and to have sought absolution 
for his sin. In resuming priestly functions, without 
long previous penance, and doing so publicly and 
without shame, he had brought scandal upon the 

Of course the reply might be made, and was made, 1 
that dispensations from general rules must be allowed 
in special cases. St. Chrysostom and St. Basil had 
thus remitted punishments. But the cases, it was 
urged, were not in any way parallel. Again, the 
second marriage of Valentinian I. 2 was by no means 
a desirable precedent. The plea put forward by the 
opponents : that the peace of the Church demanded 
a compromise, was turned back against them by 
Theodore. For if only those in authority would now 
do what was just and fitting, peace and harmony 
would be at once restored. The root of the matter 
was contained in the principle that the wishes or 
commands expressed by the sovereign rulers had 
nothing whatever to do with moral right or canonical 

1 See especially Theodore s letter to Theoctistus, Lib. i. 24. 
* See Gibbon s " Decline and Fall," ch. xxx. 


legality. If Constantine VI. had broken any of the 
commandments, he was not to be excused any more 
than a private person. If Nicephorus wanted to go 
against the decisions of the Church in order to vin 
dicate Constantine and those who had sanctioned his 
conduct, the wishes of Nicephorus could count for 
nothing. " The laws of God are supreme over all men." 
If not by words, by deeds, Joseph and his abettors 
had declared that John the Precursor had erred in 
reproving Herod, and had not been worthy of the 
martyr s crown. 

These arguments occur in varying order and con 
nection in Theodore s letters, with a good deal of 
repetition, even in writings addressed to the same 
person. Of course we have not the arguments on the 
other side, except as stated merely for purpose of 
confutation. But there can be no doubt that in 
this case Theodore was the champion of moral law 
and of spiritual equality. 

Meanwhile he was in correspondence with friends 
about Court. He wrote two letters (perhaps three) to 
Simeon the Monk, who seems to have been related to 
the imperial family, and one to Simeon 1 the Abbot ; 
also one to the high official Theoctistus. But none of 
them seem to have effected anything for him in high 
quarters, any more than they succeeded in changing 
his own views. The priest Simeon he pronounced to 
be double-tongued. Of the Patriarch he seems to have 
soon lost all hope. " What is the use of saying any- 

1 The reader will have observed the difficulty occasioned to the student 
of Byzantine history by the paucity of proper names. Thus we have these 
two Simeons ; we have Nicephorus the Emperor and Nicephorus the 
Patriarch ; Joseph, Bishop of Thessalonica, and Joseph the Steward ; 
among women there are not only several Marias, but various ladies bear 
ing the names Irene, Euphrosyne, &c. 


thing to the Patriarch, who sends no answers, and 
will not listen to any representations, but manages 
everything for the Emperor?" However, he sent, 
probably after the return of the Emperor, a last 
desperate appeal to the Patriarch Nicephorus. He 
complained bitterly that he had heard from a colleague 
and pupil John, who had gone to pay his respects to 
Nicephorus, that the latter had stigmatised Theodore 
and his party as guilty of schism. He insisted on his 
orthodoxy, and on his recognition of the Patriarchate 
of Nicephorus, whom he commemorates in the daily 
services. He had refrained himself for two years, 
considering that an abbot has not so great a right 
to make protests as a bishop. He suggests as the only 
admissible compromise that he may be left in quiet. 
He would only implore the Patriarch to avert a schism. 
But the Emperor and the Patriarch had made up 
their minds to resort to force. Studium was seized by 
a band of soldiers, and Plato, Theodore, and Bishop 
Joseph were again taken into custody. It is not 
surprising that they should have stood firm, but it 
is more remarkable that the brothers in Studium, 
deprived of the stimulating presence of their fathers, 
should have shown equal tenacity. The Emperor sent 
for them to the Palace of Eleutherium, and demanded 
that they should return to communion with the 
Patriarch. Those who would comply were to go to 
the right, those who refused, to the left. 2 When every 
single man passed to the left, the Emperor ordered 
that they should be distributed in various monasteries, 
the whole community being broken up. Either before 
or after this event, a council of the clergy was called, 

1 Lib. i. Ep. 26, to Simeon the Abbot. 2 VitaB, 27. 


at which, in spite of the Studites, resolutions 1 were 
carried in the sense desired by Emperor and Patriarch. 

Under these circumstances Theodore once more 
found himself a prisoner and an exile, and yet again 
separated from his brave old uncle, on whom, owing 
to his age and infirmity, the blow came with greater 
force. Plato was, according to Theodore, treated with 
shameful brutality, and kept in close imprisonment. 
Theodore himself was moved from place to place, and 
probably detained for the greater part of the time in 
Prince s Island. What became of the monastic build 
ings we do not know. They were probably for a time 
left empty. But the imprisonment was not in all cases 
so severe as to prevent any sort of communication 
with the outside world. Thus Theodore was able to 
write to some members of his flock as well as to 
influential people at a distance, and his "sons" or 
"brothers" must have been able to receive his letters. 
Notably there is one from which we have had to 
quote which was addressed to the Brothers in Saccudio, 
and which shows that this monastery, the mother of 
the revived Studium, had been reoccupied, and was in 
close alliance with the community to which its leading 
men had migrated. 

Theodore had two main objects in view : to keep 
his party together, especially by showing how the right 
lay on his side ; and beyond this, if possible, to bring 
some pressure to bear that might lead to a reversal of 
policy at Byzantium. 

We have already seen by what arguments he main 
tained his cause, and also how eager he was to meet 
the accusation of causing a schism in the Church. He 

1 We have not their exact wording, since the account which Theodore 
gives is, if correct in general purport, quite rhetorical in style. 


contended again and again that not he but his op 
ponents were schismatics and heretics, and invented an 
ugly name for this new heresy the Mcechianic, or 
Adulterous. He consequently had to meet a further 
charge : that of indifference to matters of faith, since it 
was the accepted view that heresy consisted in wrong 
belief, not in perverted principles of action. There 
was a certain non-catholic sect they are mentioned 
in the great work on heresies written by John of 
Damascus called Gnosimachi, or opponents of subtle 
religious inquiry, who held that Christianity consisted 
not in knowledge but in action. In an interesting 
though not very lucid passage, 1 Theodore refers to 
these heretics, and also to those who make much of 
gnosis, and seems to regard both alike as bound to 
recognise heresy in his opponents. No number of 
names, whether of the learned or the unlearned, can 
prevail against the voice of truth and of the estab 
lished law. 

But it was in gaining or seeking to gain support 
from a distance that Theodore struck out a bolder line. 
It is of great importance here to observe his relations 
to Rome, and his correspondence with Pope Leo, whom 
he hoped to make his ally. 

The relations between Constantinople and Rome in 
matters ecclesiastical were, throughout the reign of 
Nicephorus, unfriendly if not hostile. According to 
Theophanes, Nicephorus the Patriarch was not allowed 
to hold any communications with the Papacy till after 
the Emperor s death. 2 Cause and effect may here have 

1 Lib. i. Ep. 48. 

2 Theophanes, 770 B. In the looth volume of Migne s Patrologia we 
have a lengthy epistle from the Patriarch Nicephorus to Pope Leo, in 
which he apologises for delay, and asserts his own orthodoxy and defer 
ence to the Pope. This was probably not written till 8n A.D. 


been working mutually. The strained relations be 
tween the Empire of the East and the Papacy, necessi 
tated by the hand-in-hand alliance of Leo and Charles, 
along with the hostile attitude of the two sovereigns 
to one another, especially in Venetia, may have led 
Theodore to hope for sympathy in Eome. At the 
same time, a suspicion that the Pope was in corre 
spondence with the recalcitrant monks may have made 
the Emperor all the more desirous to have nothing to 
do with the Church of Kome. 

We have already suggested that Theodore s notions 
of ecclesiastical politics had probably been affected by 
converse with deputies from Eome. Certainly, in his 
letters to Leo, he shows no trace of any recognition of 
the " oecumenical patriarchate " of Constantinople, the 
assertion of which had led long before Gregory the 
Great to read a lecture on humility to the aspiring 
metropolitan of Byzantium. 1 Theodore believed, as we 
shall see in the later controversy, in the patriarchal 
system, according to which the assent of the five 
great bishops (of Eome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alex 
andria, and Jerusalem) was necessary to make valid 
the decrees of councils professing to be oecumenical. 
But he shows at this juncture and after that the 
authority of Eome ought, in his opinion, to prepon 
derate over all others. For the Pope is the successor 
of St. Peter, who had received from Christ the gift of 
the keys and the injunction " Feed my sheep." 

Theodore did not approach the Pope without efforts 
to gain other supporters in Eome. In a letter to a 
certain Abbot Basil, resident in Eome, he powerfully 

1 For the early relations of the sees of Rome and Constantinople, as 
treated from a Roman Catholic standpoint, see Introduction to Hergen- 
rother s Photius. 


urges his cause. 1 The chief intermediary, however, 
seems to have been a Studite named Epiphanius. The 
first letter from Theodore to Leo has been lost. The 
second z is addressed to him in even more than Byzan 
tine terms of adulation. At the same time Theodore has 
no hesitation in exhorting the Pope to fulfil his high 
vocation, following in the steps of Christ, who saved 
His disciples in the storm, and who deigned to com 
municate in writing with King Abgarus ; 3 also in those 
of the earlier Leo, who had stifled the heresy of 
Eutychius. The ruling authorities in the East had 
arrogated to themselves, for heretical purposes, the 
power of calling a synod, a power which, apart from 
the sanction of Rome, they did not lawfully possess, 
even if their purpose had been orthodox. Let the Pope 
call a council of legitimate authority, to annul all their 
wicked acts, or let him at least send an authoritative 
letter. Theodore writes in his own name only, because 
his uncle, Plato, and his brother, Bishop Joseph, 
though sympathising with all his sentiments, are in 
separate custody and so cannot subscribe to the letter. 

It is hardly necessary to say that Leo did not act 
as Theodore desired. Apart from the fact that he must 
have desired, as soon as possible, the establishment of 
peaceful relations between the two Courts, he must 
have seen that this was not a seasonable occasion for 
intervention. In fact, to any one really conversant 
with the circumstances, there would have seemed 
something grotesque in the notion that the Pope 
should come forward as universal censor in matters 

1 Lib. i. Ep. 35. 2 Lib. i. Ep. 33. 

3 The story of Abgarus naturally comes up again a propos of icons, and 
shows that Theodore had already familiarised himself with the literature 
of the icon-defenders. 


matrimonial, seeing that his doughty champion, the 
pious and orthodox and really heroic Emperor 
Charles, had divorced at least one wife, and had had 
five recognised concubines, besides three other regular 
successive consorts. However, Leo sent a letter to 
Theodore, which gave him some satisfaction, and called 
forth a response, in which the name of Plato was 
associated with his own. 1 But while he professed 
himself greatly gratified by the Pope s consolations, 
and the assurance of his prayers, he insists again on 
the necessity of a lawful council. He goes a little 
more into the facts of the case, and insists very 
strongly on the evil of admitting "respect of persons" 
in matters of morality. He has to defend himself 
against the charge of heresy, which, as Epiphanius 
has related, has been preferred against him in Eome, 
and anathematises the heretical leaders whose opinions 
he was supposed to favour. 

That these letters should have been allowed to go 
to Rome (though in the case of the second, we have no 
actual certainty) seems to show that Theodore s con 
finement in the islands by no means isolated him from 
the world. He managed, at the same time, to pour 
forth letters of exhortation and confirmation to his 
followers and friends. He compiled, from the writings 
of Eulogius of Alexandria, a treatise on the vexed 
question of dispensations. He devised a system of 
cypher 2 by means of which he might the more freely 
communicate with his correspondents. He laid down 
principles as to communion with persons infected with 
heresy ; 3 examined, following St. Basil, the nature of 
heresy, schism, and segregation ; 4 explained again and 

1 Ep. 34. 3 Ep. 41. 

2 Ep. 39, 40. 4 Ep. 40, 


again the nature of the grounds of his disagreement 
with the authorities. Nor does his labour seem to 
Jhave been entirely in vain. The Patriarch, certainly, 
did not find it possible, during the Emperor s lifetime, 
to retrace his steps, but he became very ready for 
peace as soon as any accommodation was possible. 
And among the people generally, the cause of the 
monks seems to have gained ground. 

The end of the whole matter came about by the 
unsuccessful expedition of the Emperor against the 
Bulgarians and their terrible king, Crumn, which 
brought about the death in battle of Nicephorus (July 
8 1 1 ) and the severe wounding of his son, Stauracius. 
Even if Stauracius had been whole, he would probably 
not have succeeded his father, for Nicephorus was 
unpopular, and the minister Theoctistus (to whom 
Theodore had written an appeal, and who was prob 
ably a friend to the monastic cause), had a rival can 
didate. This was Michael, Guardian of the Palace, who 
had married a daughter of Nicephorus, and who stood 
high in reputation for piety and orthodoxy. The 
result was that Stauracius was forced to retire into a 
monastery, where he soon after died. His wife, Theo- 
phane, whom he had illegally married, also withdrew 
from the world. Michael I. was crowned by Nice 
phorus, and promised to defend the faith and restore 
peace to the Church ; and the exiled monks were 
permitted to return. 

Whether or no the story is true that Theodore had 
foretold the destruction of Nicephorus, if he went forth 
to fight with Crumn, there is no doubt that he and all 
his party looked upon the death of Nicephorus and 
that of Stauracius as an intervention of Divine justice 
on behalf of the good cause. What is more to their 


credit, they readily embraced the proposals of the 
Patriarch and the new Emperor, and when once the 
single point at issue was satisfactorily decided, the schism 
came to an end. Joseph the priest was once more 
degraded. The aged Plato, with all the other sufferers, 
entered into peace with Nicephorus and the Church, 
and returned to their deserted monastery. 

But Plato only came home to die. He was nearly 
seventy-nine years old, and his afflictions must have 
diminished his remaining strength. Nevertheless, he 
bitterly regretted that necessity compelled him to 
abandon his ascetic practices, and to use the comforts 
which his spiritual children were so ready to provide 
for him. After his death, in March 812, Theodore 
composed, for the Studite brothers, the stirring account 
of his life from which we have often had to quote. 
Plato s sister, Theoctista, had probably died before 
the last troubles began. The memory of the two, 
and the constant friendship of his brother Joseph, re 
mained as a strength to Theodore in the strenuous and 
troubled days to come. He had much to endure, but 
was spared at least one of the most grievous pains 
by which loving and devout souls are often assailed, 
the conflict between the claims of family affection and 
those of religious and public duty. 



THE accession of Michael Rhangabe must have seemed 
to the monks and their friends bright with hope for 
the future. True, there were enemies threatening 
abroad and subterranean mutters of discontent at 
home. Haroun al Rashid had died a year or two 
before, and the disputes among his sons rendered the 
Saracens, for a time, less formidable to the Empire. 
But the Bulgarians were as strong as ever. Crumn was 
drinking from a cup made of the skull of the Emperor 
Nicephorus, and his people were elated with their 
victory and ready to follow it up by devastating raids. 
In Constantinople itself there were some who looked 
back with regret to the great Isaurians, and who cared 
little for Michael and his house. But to Theodore and 
his friends, outward fortunes were of little account in 
comparison with inner rectitude, or rather, the most 
adverse experiences, if the heart and mind were sound, 
seemed at the worst a severe and wholesome discipline. 
And the new government was, they believed, sound 
at heart. The new Emperor had solemnly promised to 
the Patriarch to keep the faith, and to avoid the 
shedding of Christian blood, with all persecution of 
monks and clergy. Furthermore, Michael showed 


himself ready to listen to the advice of the Patriarch 
and of the monastic leaders. In everything he seemed 
willing to reverse the policy of his predecessor. 
Where Nicephorus had been sparing, he was lavish. 
While Nicephorus had allowed the laws against heretics 
to remain a dead letter, but had persecuted those 
among the orthodox who resisted his authority, Michael 
was willing to put down heresy and to work in all 
things in close alliance with the Church. Whereas 
Nicephorus had practically kept his Patriarch from 
communications with Eome, the advent of Michael was 
the signal for the reopening of correspondence between 
Patriarchate and Papacy. Theodore himself, mistrusted, 
threatened, finally imprisoned by Nicephorus, now ap 
pears in the character of an active adviser of the new 

Michael must be regarded as a P faff en-kaiser. The 
part was not a dignified one, and he did not show any 
particular ability for playing it well. He was not a 
strong man. He had an ambitious wife and a family for 
whom he was ambitious. His task required more char 
acter than he could show. It was the more difficult in 
that the body of the clergy, by whom he was generally 
swayed, was not all of one mind in everything. The 
party which followed the Patriarch was more pliant 
and less averse to all manner of compromise than was 
that of the Studites. Yet it was to the Studites that 
he chiefly deferred. We may probably see the hand of 
Theodore in the two creditable and honourable actions 
of the reign, the establishment of an entente cordiale 
with the Frankish Empire, and the refusal to abandon 
Christian refugees to the Bulgarians. The second of 
these measures is undoubtedly due to Theodore, and 
it seems natural to suppose that he was consulted in 


the first, the results of which were entirely in accord 
with his principles. 

We have already seen 1 that at the end of the reign 
of Nicephorus, negotiations were on foot between the 
Eastern and the Western Courts for settling the 
frontier question in Venetia and Dalmatia, and for 
establishing some kind of modus vivendi between the 
two Emperors. The embassy of Nicephorus had been 
accredited to Charles s son Pippin, whom his father had 
appointed to rule over Italy with the title of King. 
But Pippin had died in 810, and the ambassador, 
Arsafius, had proceeded to Aix, and held a conference 
with Charles. The result had appeared in the interest 
ing letter already quoted, about the union of the two 
Empires (as we must almost certainly understand the 
words) in the love of Christ. With Arsafius, when he 
returned, were a bishop and two nobles, charged to 
restore to the " Constantinopolitan Emperor," as the 
chronicler still calls him, all claims over Venetia and 
the sea-coast towns in Dalmatia. Possibly this did 
not imply that Venice was to be free from any money 
payment to the rulers of Italy, but that such payment 
was not to involve subjection. 2 

Unfortunately, we have no details of the reception 
of Charles s ambassadors in Constantinople or of the 
persons with whom they held consultation. Yet that 
embassy must have been eminently successful. Like 
Arsafius, they had to negotiate with another sovereign 
than him to whom they had been dispatched, as 
Michael was now on the throne, and his son Theo- 
phylactus, crowned, or shortly to be crowned, as his 

1 Above, p. 1 08. 

2 This is the interpretation of Otto Harnack. The evidence for the 
payment is scattered and the question is not unanimously decided. 


colleague, was specially included in the arrangements. 1 
The issue of it all was that three ambassadors : Arsafius 
again, Michael, and Theognotus, were sent to Aix to 
grant to Charles the greatly coveted title which 
probably seemed to him of as much importance as 
any Adriatic cities. The conditions of the treaty 
were presented to Charles, with his clergy and nobles, 
and solemnly accepted by them in the church at Aix. 
On the conclusion of the treaty, the Greeks formally 
saluted Charles as /3a<ri\ev? or Imperator. The pro 
ceedings fitly terminated with a hymn of praise, 2 
which seems to find a continuation in Charles s letter 
to Michael: 3 " In the name of the Father, &c., 
Charles, Emperor and Augustus, King of the Franks 
and Lombards, to his beloved and honourable brother 
Michael, the glorious Emperor and Augustus. . . . We 
bless our Lord Jesus Christ, who has vouchsafed so 
greatly to prosper us as in these days to establish the 
long sought and ever desired peace between the Eastern 
and the Western Empire, and to unite in our times the 
members of the Holy Catholic Church, which reaches 
over all the world, under His guidance and protection." 

It is a very notable thing that the ambassadors 
proceeded directly to Rome, where they received the 
solemn written sanction of Pope Leo to the treaty that 
had been made. 

Charles had thus obtained the reciprocation of the 

1 From the words of Tlieophanes, -n-epi elp^v^ Kal ffvva\\ayrjs els 
Qeo(j)v\aKTov rbv vlbv avrov, the Latin translator, and some historians follow 
ing him, have spun the imaginary web of a proposal of marriage with 
some Frankish princess. 

2 Dr. Hodgkin thinks that the giving of the title was in the course of 
the thanksgiving (Lauds). Others take lauds in the non-ecclesiastical 
sense. It is certain from the Monk of St. Gall that these ambassadors or 
their followers were skilled in Greek church music, and thereby greatly 
delighted Charles. 

3 Ep. Car. 40 (Jaffe). 


title of brother, and an acknowledgment of the 
duality of the Empire and the unity of the Church. 
Some of the words used in his letters require careful 
attention. In those days the designation of fraternity 
between monarchs was not a mere piece of diplomatic 
politeness. The profession of uniting in the love of 
Christ was not only pious commonplace. It has been 
pointed out by an eminent French historian, 1 that the 
whole tenor of the document and the expressions it 
employs correspond closely to those of the treaties by 
which the dominions of Charles were afterwards divided 
among his descendants. The brotherhood there was 
physical, but the idea was the same. The unity was 
that of the Catholic Church. The two Empires were 
not the Roman Empire as divided for administrative 
purposes under Diocletian, or under the sons of Con- 
is tantine. The administrative separation was acknow 
ledged as complete, but the spiritual union was to keep 
all Christendom together, and the spiritual head was 
acknowledged in the Pope at Rome. 

If Nicephorus the Patriarch had been a strong 
man, he would probably have made some protest. 
But Nicephorus was a strange combination of saint 
and courtier, nothing at all of statesman or diplomat. 
And Theodore, as we have seen, had adopted, in all its 
consequences, the doctrine of the Keys. To him, the 
whole proceeding must have seemed the recognition of 
the great seats of authority in the Church and in the 
World. Small blame to him and to his partisans if 
they could not discern that the separation of the 
churches must needs follow on the gradual cleavage 
in character and customs, and that the closing of one 

1 Gasquet, UEmpire byzantin et la Monarchic franque, v. 2. 


ecclesiastical controversy only made way for more. 
For the time, at least, East and West were alike or 
thodox, and both bowed to the authority of Rome. 
Similarly, Charles could not foresee that after a few 
years, pn^ would again be the most dignified word with 
which the Eastern Emperors would condescend to ad 
dress his successors. When he lay on his death-bed, 
only two years later, he fondly believed that he was 
leaving a united Christendom, which he had saved by 
his wars, and bound in unity by the arts of peace. 

Meantime, Michael had to make head against the 
Bulgarians. In his expedition he was at first accom 
panied by his wife Procopia. Her presence seems to 
have annoyed the soldiers. Probably they thought it 
implied that the Emperor did not mean business. 
Their disaffection was quelled, but the Bulgarians had 
taken advantage of the temporary confusion to press 
forward and make themselves masters of some strong 
places in Thrace. 

Whether in order to gain time, or in consequence 
of temporary reverses, the Bulgarian king, Crumn, sent 
at this time an embassy to the Byzantine Court, to 
make conditions of peace. These conditions, as to 
frontier limits and commercial intercourse, were the 
same as those arranged between King Cormisos and 
Theodosius III., the last Emperor before Leo the 
Isaurian. The Emperor was not very warlike, the 
people were broken-spirited, and the Patriarch was 
strongly in favour of peace. The one hitch that oc 
curred in the affair was the stipulation that on both 
sides refugees, captives, and deserters should be given 
up. It was on this point that Theodore, who was 
summoned to take part in the imperial council, had 
strong views, which did not coincide with those of the 


Patriarch. The refugees, whom the Byzantines would 
have been bound to give up, were Christians, likely to 
suffer evil things at the hands of Crumn if they were 
left to his tender mercies. The captives taken by the 
Bulgarians had probably already been ransomed, 1 or 
else sold into slavery, and so were not easily recover 
able. The advantage of obtaining the persons of the 
Christian deserters, who were teaching the Bulgarians 
the use of Greek fire and military machines, seems not 
to have come into the account. Theodore supported 
his position by a text of Scripture that he was fond of 
quoting in other connections : " Him that cometh unto 
me I will in no wise cast out." He applied it in the 
government of his monastery, never refusing candidates 
for admission. Here, of course, he used it to denounce 
any proposition involving the betrayal of those who had 
sought the imperial protection. His councils, taken up 
by the Magister Theoctistus, prevailed in spite of the 
Patriarch and his party, who urged that the few must 
sometimes be sacrificed for the good of the many. Un 
happily, the bold decision was not followed up by bold 
deeds, and Theodore s opponents were able to accuse 
him of singular imprudence in causing the rejection of 
a much-desired peace. Whether, if an ignominious 
treaty had been signed, the relief would have been 
permanent, we need not stop to inquire. 

We may observe that in another affair, Emperor 
and Patriarch were heartily at one in carrying out 
Theodore s maxim. The raids of the Saracens were 
at this time laying waste the habitations of many 
monastic communities in the Holy Land. There was 
a general flight to Cyprus, whence many of the desti- 

1 This is the view of Finlay, who, though not as a rule too favourable 
to Theodore, approves his conduct on this occasion. 


tute monks passed on to Constantinople. They were 
received with a liberality and hospitality which, if 
disproportionate to the measure of relief which a 
prudent financier would have approved, were at least 
creditable to the good intentions of Michael and his 

Meantime the Bulgarians were advancing. Mesem- 
bria fell into their hands in November 812, and with 
it, a good deal of the machinery for producing " Greek 
fire." Next spring the Byzantine army took the field, 
and for a very brief time seemed successful, owing, 
apparently, to an epidemic that attacked the forces of 
Crumn. In the campaign which followed, there seems 
to have been a want of determination in the Emperor 
and of unanimity in the generals, though the accusa 
tions afterwards brought against Leo the Armenian, 
of foul play, do not seem well substantiated. The 
Emperor and Empress had first visited the tomb of 
Tarasius, now reverenced as a saint, and surrounded 
it with silver plates. It might indeed seem as if the 
vacillating spirit of the deceased Patriarch were presiding 
over the plan or no plan of the campaign. Some of 
the people, guided by a truer instinct, flocked around 
the grave of Constantine Caballinus and invoked the 
aid of one who would never, had he lived on, have 
allowed his country to fall into such sad plight. They 
saw him, they said, mounted on his steed, ready to 
charge the Bulgarians. The orthodox party might call 
them Paulicians, or Athingians, or other bad names, for 
calling on one who had long dwelt in Tartarus, in the 
company of demons. But the facts were not altered. 
The heretics had certainly proved the best men of 
war. The battle if battle it may be called was 
fought near Adrianople, where, more than four and a 


half centuries before, the Emperor Valens had lost his 
life and his army in fighting the Goths. The imperial 
army fled so readily that Crumn suspected a feint. The 
Emperor returned to Constantinople, and proposed to 
abdicate, but his wife was naturally in opposition to 
this step. It seems rather strange that his rival should 
have been one of the unsuccessful generals, Leo, the 
governor of the Anatolian Theme. But the army knew 
him to be a man of military capacity, who might do 
something if only he were independent of so weak a 
figure-head as Michael. Nicephorus the Patriarch was 
not unwilling to support him, so long as he guaranteed 
the security of Michael and his family. This he was 
ready to do. He entered the city by the Golden Gate 
close to Studium. 1 Michael and his family took 
refuge in a church. They were spared on condition 
that they entered the monastic life. Michael lived on 
for many years, and one of his sons afterwards became 
Patriarch of Constantinople, and also author of some 
biographical works, which are useful for contemporary 
events, though in themselves of doubtful merit. 

Leo was crowned by Nicephorus, and seems at first 
to have shown a degree of orthodoxy which was 
satisfactory to the clerics, and of energy which aroused 
the hopes of the soldiers. He appears, however, to 
have declined to give a written confession of faith. 2 
The worst thing known of his early days is a dastardly 
plot to assassinate Crumn at a conference. This mis 
carried, and the suburbs of Constantinople suffered 
terribly from the ravages of the barbarian host. How- 

1 Whence, apparently, the procession was formed. 

2 So Ignatius says : Vita Nicephori. But the passage is obscure, as he 
makes the Emperor already bound over to heretics and demons. Theo- 
phanes seems to have felt quite satisfied with things at the beginning, 
though he had to suffer when the persecution broke out. 


ever, next year, owing partly to the death of Crumn, 
partly to the vigorous preparations of Leo, the barbarians 
were decidedly beaten, not far from Mesembria. It was 
now the turn of the Bulgarians to suffer from a raid of 
Romans. A peace or truce for thirty years was subse 
quently signed between Leo and Mortogon, successor 
to Crumn, and for some time the Bulgarians seem to 
have given little trouble to the Empire. 

In other directions, also, the change of sovereigns 
seems to have worked for good. By the testimony of 
his opponents, Leo was an energetic administrator and 
a lover of justice. Yet his barbarian ancestry he was 
said to be half Assyrian and half Armenian made 
him obnoxious to some of the upper circles. The 
forces of superstition the ravings of soothsayers and 
the dreams of visionaries could by his enemies be 
turned against him. It is possible that he felt the need 
of making himself strong in the respect of the armies. 
The memory of the crowd invoking the ghost of Con- 
stantine Caballinus may have suggested a reversal of 
the ecclesiastical policy of the last reign. Many who 
felt contempt for the feeble administration of Michael 
or suspicion of an ultimate swamping of secular interests 
and policy in the endeavour to reach a monastic ideal, 
were quite ready to suggest reasons for a return to the 
policy of Leo the Isaurian and a new campaign against 
the icons. 

It may, however, be gathered from what we know 
of the character of Leo, hateful as it seemed to those 
whom he caused to suffer for their faith, that there was 
less of brutal violence, more of a desire to appeal to 
reason and to effect a compromise, than there had been 
under Leo III. or certainly under Constantine V. Leo 
was, of course, high-handed and autocratic, but he pre- 


ferred, if possible, persuasion to force. One at least of 
his strongest supporters, possibly a prime originator of 
his policy, was a man of learning and intellectual ability, 
John the Grammarian. There may have been cruelty 
though the sufferings of martyrs, detailed for the edifi 
cation of the faithful, can seldom be observed in a clear 
light but there is no ribald mockery. Leo would 
probably in any case have been likened to a roaring 
lion the temptation of his name was too strong but 
compared with other emperors, he does not seem to 
have been remarkably violent in meeting open resistance 
to his authority. Moreover, he seems to have been a 
religious man, taking pleasure in the sacred music which 
was at that time one of the glories of the Byzantine 
Church, and ready to accept the role presented to him 
of a new Hezekiah. Yet perhaps all the more because 
he was in some respects a better man than the Isaurians, 
the persecution which he directed was more disastrous 
to the Church. 

Leo first attempted to get the Patriarch on his side. 
It is surprising that Nicephorus, so pliant on previous 
occasions, should suddenly have shown himself capable 
of resistance even to the loss of position and of liberty. 
Perhaps his conscience was more sensitive on matters 
of cult than on such as had to do with discipline, or, 
more probably, the stern and uncompromising character 
of Theodore had acquired an ascendency over his more 
yielding nature. In any case he used all his influence 
against the innovations, and held all-night services 
among the faithful. The Emperor had no scruple in 
taking matters into his own hands, and issued an 
edict apparently similar in tenor to that of Leo III. 
Meantime he had set to work some of the ablest men 
about him to search out and record all the Patristic 


and Biblical statements by which his cause might be 

Of these adherents of Leo, three in succession be 
came Patriarchs of Constantinople. The first. Theodotus 
Cassiteras, was a layman, who, from the course of events 
may naturally be suspected of designs on the throne 
of Nicephorus. He seems to have worked on the 
superstitious fears of the Emperor. It is a curious fact 
that there was a certain party among the monks in or 
near Constantinople ready to denounce the icons and 
their worshippers and to promise long life and pros 
perity to the sovereign who might put them down. The 
threats of a " possessed " woman and of a priest named 
Sabbatius, and the machinations of Theodotus to bring 
them home to the Emperor, are detailed at length in 
some of the chroniclers, but need not concern us here. 1 

Antonius, Bishop of Sylseum, is said to have been 
a man of law, who fled from the world in consequence 
of an accusation made against him, and became first 
monk, then priest, finally bishop. He was regarded 
with contempt as a mythologus (story-teller?) but 
seems to have been a man of parts. The Patriarch 
Nicephorus, on discovering his tendencies to iconoclasm 
probably before the Emperor had openly declared 
his policy held a synod by which Antonius was con- 

1 With the accession of Leo, we lose the guidance of Theophanes, which 
is hardly made up by his Continuators, two unknown authors, together 
with Symeon Magister, George the Monk (Hamartolus), Genesius, and 
others. There is some account of the beginning of the persecution in the 
"Epistle to Theophilus" bound up with the works of John of Damascus. 
The Life of the Patriarch Nicephorus, by Ignatius, is, of course, strictly 
contemporary, but it is vague and prolix. The two Lives of Theodore are, 
of course, useful, and far more so are his letters, for the beginning of the 
persecution. Hergenrother is of great help as to the persons who figure at 
this crisis. The stories agree in the main, though the exact order of events 
is not always certain. 


demned as a heretic. He agreed, however, to read a 
full recantation, though very soon afterwards he ex 
plained to Leo that this act had been merely formal and 
that his sentiments were the same as before. This 
tergiversation, when known, brought upon him a 
second condemnation. 

But by far the most interesting of the iconoclastic 
advisers of Leo was John the Grammarian, 1 a man 
about whom we should like to know more, as he certainly 
shows versatility of character and talent, with originality 
and boldness not common among his companions. In 
fact, he was probably the only great iconoclast to 
whom Theodore wrote in terms of respect. 2 He was 
regarded by his contemporaries as an adept in the 
magical arts, especially in that of foretelling events 
by means of a metal basin, whence the name by which 
he is often called of Lecanomantis. It is not impossible 
that he may have had some acquaintance, derived 
from Arabic sources, with the physical sciences, and 
if this is so, it is by no means improbable that, not 
being over-scrupulous in his dealings with the people, 
he may have encouraged the general opinion that he 
possessed occult powers. He was said to be remarkably 
proficient in literature and in rhetoric. He had been 
abbot of the monastery of St. Sergius, in Constantinople, 
and was now one of the Court clergy. He must have 
been fairly young at this time. In the next reign we 
find him made preceptor to the young prince, and 
afterwards sent as ambassador to Bagdad and greatly 

1 His father, Pancratius, was, according to Synieon Magister, 
CTKICWTTJS, a term variously rendered as "embroiderer" or "umbrella- 
bearer." There are a good many references to him in Theophanes 
Continuator, in the " Lives " of Theodore, &c. 

2 Lib. ii. Ep. 168, 194, 212 ; if the superscriptions are correct, Ep. 
194 would have brought John into connection with Abbot Plato. 


impressing the Caliph and his Court with his liberality 
and his powers. On his return, he induced the 
Emperor to imitate the Moorish style of architecture 
in some of his palatial buildings. He is said to have 
had a house underground, in which he carried on his 
mysterious operations. It is quite possible that at 
this earlier date he may have had intercourse with 
Mahometans, and have accepted their principles, at 
least so far as to reckon a pure monotheism inconsistent 
with pictorial representations of any being reverenced 
as divine. We have a graphic description of a scene 
in church, after the beginning of the iconoclastic 
measures. It fell to the part of John to read aloud 
the passage in Isaiah : " To whom then will ye liken 
God, or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?" 
Turning to the Emperor, John said : " Do you 
understand, Emperor, the Divine message? Let no 
man make you repent of the work begun, but remove 
far away every likeness that is thought sacred, and 
cleave to the true worship of those who adore not 
such things." This man, at least, was not a mere 
tool in the hands of the secular power. His learn 
ing and energy were turned to account by Leo, who 
chiefly entrusted to him the task already mentioned of 
searching out authoritative statements against image- 
worship, an occupation on which John was employed 
from July to December 8 1 4. 

Meantime, the Emperor held private colloquies 
with the Patriarch which, as might be expected, led 
to no result. He then summoned a meeting of the 
clergy at his palace. There Nicephorus had a strong 
following, even among the bishops, of whom Euthymius 
of Sardis was a decided champion, though Theodore 
seems to have taken the lead. 


The accounts of this conference are not of course 
to be taken as verbatim reports, but though one 
cannot be at all sure what Nicephorus said whether 
he tried to elude the demands of the Emperor with a 
logical quibble, or made a long-winded speech about 
miraculous icons, there seems to be no doubt as to 
the ground taken up by Theodore. He simply refused 
to acknowledge the right of the secular power to in 
terfere in the affairs of the Church. This refusal is 
more intelligible than a general assertion that the points 
at issue were not capable of logical argument. Theodore 
himself, as we shall see, was by no means hesitating in 
the conflict of reason, and believed as much as other 
Greeks in the power of argument ; but it was one 
thing to write out logical treatises for the benefit of 
waverers, or even to meet a theological foe on a fair 
field, and quite another to consent, in the presence 
of an autocrat, to the reopening of a question which 
a lawfully constituted council had settled not many 
years before. Yet this bold championship of ecclesias 
tical autonomy was naturally more irritating to the 
Emperor than any opposition on purely theological 
ground could possibly have been. He showed signs 
of great irritation, and declared that he had half a 
mind not to let Theodore return to his monastery. 
But he was still reluctant to use force and unwilling 
to bestow too cheaply the crown of martyrdom. 
Theodore retired to his faithful " fathers and brothers" 
the hero of the day. He was forbidden to speak on 
the controverted subjects, but refused to obey. Nice 
phorus, though miserably ill, in consequence, no doubt, 
of the nervous strain, was first dealt with. He was 
forcibly removed, imprisoned, and declared to have 
forfeited his see. On Easter Day, 815, Theodotus 


Cassiteras, till then a layman, was set on the 
patriarchal throne. 

The Sunday before, Theodore had taken a step 
which was too defiant of the imperial authority to be 
overlooked. On Palm Sunday, he ordered a solemn 
procession around his monastery, in which the pro 
hibited icons were conspicuously borne aloft. Never 
theless, he seems to have received a summons to the 
synod called by the new Patriarch to give ecclesiastical 
sanction to the iconoclastic decrees. Needless to say, 
he declined the invitation and refused to recognise the 
intruder. He must have known that the time of 
banishment was nigh at hand, and he devoted all 
his energies to confirming the resolution of his monks 
and to arranging matters for their government during 
his absence. He chose a kind of committee of seventy- 
two, to exercise oversight over the rest. He was before 
long removed by the orders of Leo, and forced to retire 
to a place called Metopa, near to the Lake of Apollonia, 
in Northern Phrygia. 

Three spirited letters of Theodore remain to us of 
this critical period. The first, 1 a general encyclical to 
the monks, was written to protest against the order 
presented to them for signature, that they should 
cease to hold meetings and conferences for mutual 
exhortation and support. In it he shows the power 
so necessary to a great party leader of making each 
member, however inferior his grade, realise his personal 
responsibility in maintaining a great cause : "At this 
moment, when Christ is being persecuted in His image, 
it is not the duty of those only who are eminent in 
rank and knowledge to contend, in conversation and 

1 Lib. ii. Ep. 2, order of Sirmondi. That of Baronius is slightly 



instruction, on behalf of true doctrine. But those who 
occupy the rank of pupils are bound to be valiant for 
the truth, and to use all freedom of speech." To sign 
the document would be to betray the truth and to 
deny all spiritual authority, to give up the apostolic 
position that " We ought to obey God rather than 
men." He cites examples of clerical resistance to 
imperial authority, and appeals to the blessing pro 
nounced on those who confess Christ before men, the 
curse on those who hold back. How is he himself to 
act up to his maxim: "Him that cometh unto me I 
will in no wise cast out," if he promises to reject those 
who come to him for counsel ? He exhorts them to 
save their own souls and to support him by their 

The letter to Nicephorus 1 resembles many of the 
catechetical orations in setting forth the glory and the 
joy of suffering for the truth and enduring the reproach 
of Christ. Besides the eternal reward of his constancy, 
the Patriarch has, if he looks around, the satisfaction of 
seeing his sheep, if physically separated, joined together 
in unity of spirit by his example and his prayers. 
Theodore s regard for the person and the authority of 
Nicephorus is shown again in the letter 2 which he 
drew up for signature by all those who rejected the 
summons to the synod called by Theodotus. Such 
synod, without the authority of a lawful bishop, was 
incompetent to settle any matter of doctrine and dis 
cipline, and the remonstrants have the sanction, not 
only of the Second Council of Nicsea, but of the 
great See concerning which the promise had been 
made : " On this Rock will I build my church." 

i Lib. ii. 1 8. * Lib. ii. i. 





This letter contains also a dogmatic statement of 
the principles held by the objectors. The whole theo 
logical, aspect of the question, however, is so funda 
mental for the understanding of the controversy and 
of Theodore s part in it, as to need a special inves 
tigation, such as we are to make in the next chapter. 
The boldness and zeal of Theodore at this crisis show 
that he believed in his cause and that he was able to 
confirm the faith of others. The question what that 
cause actually was now claims our careful attention. 



FROM what we have hitherto seen of Theodore s life 
and character, we should expect to find all his contro 
versial writings marked by unity of purpose and fixity 
of principle. Nor are we to be disappointed. Nay, 
more : it is in these writings more than anywhere else 
that we find a clear expression of those dominant ideas 
which were at once his goal and his aspiration through 
out his career. For Theodore was not, like many 
learned men whom an adverse fortune has placed in 
an uncongenial atmosphere of religious controversy, 
a theologian by accident. In whatever age of the 
world s history he had lived, he would have devoted 
his energies to the examination of theological prin 
ciples and the elucidation of religious doctrine. The 
controversy of his day was one with which he became 
as closely identified as was Athanasius with the opposi 
tion to Arius. And, although Theodore himself would 
certainly have deprecated any suggestion of placing 
him on an equality with so famous a champion of the 
Catholic faith, yet possibly he may for us have an 
almost equal interest. For the conflicts of Theodore s 
time are more easily translated into terms of modern 
thought, and brought to act on our sympathies and 
antipathies, than are those of the fourth century. 

For when we look back on the theological con 
troversies of bygone times, we are inclined roughly to 


distinguish between three kinds. There are some 
which are to us not only unintelligible, but quite 
incapable of being stated so as to convey any kind of 
meaning. We can only look for their origin in a 
confused state of mind which has no notion of the 
inadequacy of definitions and arguments to the matters 
to be defined and argued about, and for their con 
tinuance in some half- forgotten prejudice, personal or 
national, which has become attached to a catch-word 
or has given significance to a peculiar rite. There are 
others in which we seem to see some of the thoughts 
and feelings of our own day represented in forms which 
we would fain identify and translate, but which we 
need to approach with caution lest insufficient historical 
training and imagination should land us in total mis 
conception. And again there are others in which it 
is comparatively easy for us to realise the warmth of 
feeling they aroused and the deep speculations to which 
they led. Such are all controversies which have to 
do with cult and with habitual religious worship and 
aspiration. Among these last is the controversy with 
which we have here to do, though when we examine it 
closely we see that it comprised many elements likely 
to be overlooked by a hasty or unhistorical mind, and 
that many associations have come to belong to it which 
are not found at its origin. 

A side question, involved, so to speak, accidentally, 
yet very deeply, in the controversy is, as we have seen, 
that of the nature of spiritual authority. Whatever 
the supreme voice in matters of cult and of doctrine 
might be, it was not, to Theodore and his companions, 
that of the secular government. We have already seen 
the stout opposition they made to the imperial govern 
ment in upholding the prerogative of ecclesiastical 


law, whether in matters of ethics or of ritual. The 
authority of Councils was generally received, but the 
question as to ivhich councils were to be regarded as 
authoritative was not always an easy one. The 
presence of the five Patriarchs was still made an 
essential condition, but, as we have seen in the case of 
the Second Council of Nicsea, the principle of repre 
sentation had to be considerably stretched in order to 
find representatives of dignitaries whose sees were 
under Mohammedan sway. Theodore himself may 
have been quite prepared to cut the knot in the 
fashion now followed in the West, and to look to Old 
Rome as the centre of spiritual dominion. But we 
can hardly think that he would have quietly accepted 
the decisions of a Pope who received his instructions, 
with paternal injunctions and exhortations, from a 
Frankish Emperor of the West. Still less would the 
rank and file of Byzantine clerics and monks have 
adopted such an attitude. A united, self-governing 
Church, comprehending all Christian peoples, was still 
the object of pious hopes, a desideratum which histori 
cal events were constantly proving to be impossible. 
Written authorities : Scriptures, Canons, Patristic writ 
ings, were acknowledged on both sides. But here many 
fields were open for differences of interpretation and 
discrimination. And in this place, we may recognise one 
good thing in what may seem the least intelligent part 
of the controversy, that the need of examining authority 
was favourable to at least a rudimentary criticism. The 
question whether or no any prohibitions laid down by 
divine authority are universally binding or admit of 
limitations and exceptions, is one that must be agitated 
before those who accept Holy Scripture as authorita 
tive can attain either to a rational exegesis or to a 


theory of progressive revelation. The meaning and 
authority of canons necessitated a study of Church 
history and of the principles of conciliar action. The 
right estimation of patristic saws implied or ought to 
have implied not only familiarity with a large body 
of literature, but some skill in discriminating genuine 
from spurious writings. In this direction, Byzantine 
scholarship had not advanced very far. To take an 
example : the Treatise of Barlaam and Josaphat is 
frequently quoted as St. Basil s. But the very recog 
nition that some textual discrimination was needful was 
surely good for the cause of learning. 

When, however, we come to the kernel of the 
controversy, the question whether or no it is lawful 
for Christians to represent pictorially the figure of 
their Lord, and to show reverence to such representa 
tion, we soon feel that we are on burning ground. 
For whereas, in many theological disputes in which 
an appeal has been made to the people, the popular 
interest seems forced and adventitious, we see here 
that men and women are contending for that around 
which their deepest and tenderest feelings are turned, 
the evidence to their souls of a divine power and 
presence. And to thinkers, whether lay or cleric, 
the question involved rival conceptions as to the 
central doctrine of Christianity and the deepest 
practical problem of all religion. It determined the 
meaning to be attached to the doctrine of the Incar 
nation, and to the real or symbolic apprehension of 
spiritual truth. No theological acumen is needed to 
see that the doctrinal basis of iconoclasm was utterly 
destructive of any belief in a human Christ, and 
that if extended to its furthest logical limits it would 
break down the bridges by which impotent man has 


thought to obtain communication with Infinite Power 
and Love. 

It must not, of course, be expected that the dis 
putants on either side fully acknowledged, in all 
possible bearings, the principles for which they strove. 
But perhaps in this controversy, more than in most, 
the profoundest of the points at issue were actually 
brought to the fore, and it is to the credit of Theodore 
that he excelled the other disputants on his side both 
in his realisation of the nature of the struggle and 
the lucidity with which he marked out the ground. 

We may, then, take these two great religious prin 
ciples, the human nature of Christ and the necessity 
of symbolism in religious worship, as constituting the 
positive side of the teaching which Theodore opposed 
to the practice of the iconoclasts. True, neither of 
these principles, put in dogmatic form, would have 
been denied by his opponents. They accepted the 
Nicene Creed and they reverenced the Eucharistic 
elements and even some of the material objects dis 
played in Catholic ritual, such as the Cross and the 
Book of the Gospels. If it had not been so, all 
argument with them would have been futile. But 
they did not, as a rule, accept either doctrine as 
corner-stone of their whole system of life and thought. 
With Theodore it was otherwise. In every act of his 
strenuous life, he regarded himself as sharing in the 
efforts and the sufferings of a human Master, who, 
if incapable of pictorial representation, was a mere 
phantom, no suffering Saviour. And in every act 
of worship, he felt that in paying reverence to the 
symbols of the divine, whether to the imitative re 
presentation of a divine person, or to any other 
material suggestion of a divine presence, the object 


of his devotion was the same, and the reality of his 
worship was beyond doubt. Hence we find that not 
only in his directly controversial writings, but in 
his catechetical exhortations to his monks and even 
in his private correspondence, he frequently breaks 
out into expressions coming from the regions in 
which his mind was always occupied ; as when he 
says to a friend who has written for instruction in 
Christian duties : " The true Christian is nothing 
but a copy or impression of Christ," or announces 
to the brethren the deep philosophic principle that 
"The Archetype appears in the Image." 

Yet lest we should fall into the common error of 
giving too modern an air to an old-world controversy, 
we may notice a few points in which this one is linked 
with earlier disputes, and in which it most notably 
differs from those which might seem to resemble it 
at the present day. The old notion of the inherent 
impurity of the flesh, the contamination which spirit 
must suffer by subjection to material limitations, had 
been handed down by Pagan Neo-Platonists to various 
semi-Christian oriental sects, and in the several branches 
of Manichsean doctrine had exercised a powerful in 
fluence upon those who had already adopted the 
ascetic ideal of life. The anti-iconoclasts rightly saw 
something akin to Manichaeism in the notion that a 
picture of Christ in human form was an insult to His 
divine nature. John of Damascus, who was not a 
student of Plato, refuted the charge by declaring that 
matter itself was a good creature of God. 3 Theodore 
does not take this ground, but he shows that the 

1 Lib. ii. Ep. 122. 

2 Lib. ii. Ep. 38, quoted from Dionysius the Areopagite. 
3 John Daruasc. Anti Icon. i. 15. 


opinions of his opponents would involve the Manichaean 
heresy that the body of Christ was a mere phantasm. 1 
He, as well as his fellow-disputants, regard the points 
at issue in connection with those as to the Person of 
Christ which had filled the preceding centuries with 
bitterness. The modern mind cannot feel much in 
dignation against the doctrine of the Monophysites 
or the Monoth elites. In fact, from the ordinary lay 
standpoint, it may seem that to divide the nature or 
the will of any conceivable being would be utterly 
destructive of any unity of person, and would remove 
the being so divided from the whole region of actu 
ality. We can hardly say whether or no this were 
the feeling of the fierce Egyptian monks, who, raging 
against the orthodox with the words : " Let those 
who would divide Christ be themselves divided," cut 
down their opponents with the sword. But on the 
orthodox side there is another point to be remembered, 
At that day, belief in the divinity of Christ was 
so entirely dominant, that but for the hypothesis 
of the Two Natures and even the Two Wills, there 
would have been no room for any human qualities at 
all. We can trace this tendency in another direction. 
Some of the Iconoclasts, especially the Emperor 
Constantine Caballinus, wished to reject the term, 
" Mother of God," as applied to the Virgin Mary. 
What, he asked, was the dignity of a box that had 
once held gold ? Would it not be more fitting to 
speak of Mary as Mother of Christ ? This was re 
jected as arrant Nestorianism. Nestorianism, however, 
was not the assertion of the humanity of Christ, but 
rather the reduction to a minimum of all the con- 

i Lib. ii.Ep. 72, 8 1. Antirrheticus, iii. 15. 


comitants of human nature as affecting His life on 
earth. Birth from the Virgin Mary, a doctrine 
which in later times has seemed to over-emphasise 
a supermundane origin and threatened to destroy the 
possibility of normal human life was probably, to 
those who opposed Nestorius, certainly to those who 
opposed Caballinus, the one guarantee of Christ s human 
existence, beginning, as all such existence must, in 
generation from a woman. So strange and even 
opposite are the meanings of theological symbols or 
articles at different periods. 1 

Then again though, when he is dealing with 
questions of worship, Theodore seems to be on ground 
where we can safely follow him we must not expect 
to find in his works the comparisons which a psycho 
logist would make between the thoughts and feelings 
aroused by the sight of a picture and by the mental 
contemplation of the reality. The distinction between 
psychology and metaphysics was not observed in the 
Greek writings of those days. True, there were arising 
in the West a few lonely thinkers who realised that 
the feelings and thoughts suggested by an object must 
actually belong to the subject, that the soul of the 
thinker must be some measure of the world of thought 
and feeling in which he moves and dwells. But in 
general, men who wished to ask what they worshipped 
and why, naturally looked above or around rather 
than within. To us the saying of St. Basil, more 
quoted than any other in this controversy, " The 
honour paid to the image goes up to the prototype, " 
might seem capable of intelligible explanation. For we 
might interpret it to mean that the feeling of reverence 

1 See the Author s little book : " Studies in John the Scot." 


first evoked by a pictorial representation and then 
associated with that representation by conscious culti 
vation and expression, is exactly similar to the feeling 
which would be excited if the original were contem 
plated by itself; or in case this condition were an 
impossible one that what one really venerated in 
the image was the suggestion of that of which it was 
a copy, and that therefore the reverential feeling was 
similar to that aroused by other copies of the same 
object. But the Greek theologians of this time were 
not as psychological as we are, besides the fact that 
the words translated worship and honour were only too 
prone to become associated with physical prostration or 
genuflexion. Therefore they use metaphysical modes of 
thought, and dwell on the intimate relation between 
copy and prototype. Here again, the modern thinker 
is surprised to see no stress laid on the degree of 
adequacy with which the copy has been artistically 
rendered. It might seem to us that the iconoclasts 
might easily have said : " Are these poor, stiff figures 
worthy to be regarded as in any sense a representa 
tion, or even a useful reminder, of beings whose 
countenances must have beamed with a divine glory 
and beauty ? " And it would have been easy to 
answer, on the other side : " Perhaps the icons are 
hopelessly inadequate. But art has generally been, 
and might always be, the handmaid of religion. And 
if we forbid the representation in art of all that we 
deeply reverence, art will fall as it has fallen among 
the Mohammedans to the level of a sumptuous 
decoration of material life." But these arguments 
would not have appealed to a generation that, while 
it possessed the art treasures of the past and retained 
some skill in such art as was structural and decorative, 


had lost the secret of copying nature, and with it all 
capacity for criticising art pure and simple. To the 
people of the ninth century the picture or icon, qua 
icon, was like the original, and it was in virtue of 
this likeness that it was to be venerated or rejected. 
The skill or want of skill possessed by the artist was 
merely a question of degree. 

Nor was the common-sense or educational view of 
the icons much appreciated by Theodore, though, as 
we have seen, it was much regarded by the Latin 
fathers, and had found expressson at the Council of 
Frankfort. The notion that the walls of a church 
might be made a picture Bible, for the instruction of 
the illiterate, had commended itself to the practical 
mind of Pope Gregory the Great, who, more than a 
century and a half before this time, had issued a 
reprimand to Serenus, Bishop of Marseilles, for re 
moving from his churches those pictures or statues 
which were practically the books of the unlearned. 
The use is not denied by the Greek disputants, but 
they generally prefer to take higher ground. 

Nevertheless, they do not take the highest ground 
possible. Among the Fathers whom they quote are 
some notably the pseudo-Dionysius Areopagitica to 
whom the whole material universe, as it appears to 
mortal sense, is but a reflection, or an image, of the 
spiritual and divine. If man is to be prohibited from 
worshipping by means of symbols, he will never be 
able to worship at all, for no human mind can rise to 
the contemplation of Deity absolute. The Incarnation 
of the Logos and the Sacraments of the Church are 
alike in being a necessity for the limited nature of 
finite creatures. If icons are regarded in the same 
way as the sacraments as pledges of an incompre- 


hensible reality the reverence paid to them is not 
only justifiable, but constitutes in itself an element 
in our worship of the Divine. But the wings of 
mysticism had been more or less clipped by the 
ecclesiastical shears, though the Areopagite himself 
was accounted a saint. The reverence paid to the 
eucharistic elements was regarded by Theodore as sui 
generis. He prefers to compare the icons to venerated 
crosses and books. 

One point in the controversy shadows forth the 
conflict of a later, but still mediaeval period. The 
stress laid on the identity of name in the thing re 
presented and its original (as, when we see a picture 
of a palm, we say " this is a palm ") anticipates the 
views of the Nominalists. But fundamentally, the 
position of the icon-defenders is nearer that of 

The purely theoretical bearings of the question 
are somewhat obscured by the fact that on both sides 
the leaders had to keep a party together. Thus the 
arguments and appeals used are always liable to shift 
as they are addressed to thinking people or to the 
prejudiced and ignorant. The iconoclasts could always 
cite the Second Commandment and could express dis 
gust at the weak superstitions of the time, and they 
probably found a good deal of support in the un 
doubted fact that the most determined iconoclasts had 
lived successful lives and died peaceful deaths, whereas 
many of the iconodules had brought disaster on the 
Empire and misery on their own heads. The champions 
of the images had their philosophic and theological 
grounds, and could defend them with ability and zeal, 
but they were not above the use of silly stories about 
miraculous pictures, and whether consciously or not 


they encouraged acts which seem at least to indicate 
the grossest superstition. Thus Theodore writes a 
letter to a certain John the Spatharius, who had taken 
an icon of St. Demetrius as sponsor for his child. 
This deed, says Theodore 1 shows a faith like that of 
the centurion in the gospel, but reversed. The cen 
turion believed in the power of the Word to act instead 
of physical presence, the Spatharius believed in the 
power of the physical presence of the image to act 
instead of the archetype. He need not doubt that 
his gift has been accepted and that the holy martyr 
has taken charge of the babe. 

It is quite possible that Theodore, like many other 
intellectual persons, may have under-estimated the 
dead weight of materialism which loads the spirit of 
the average man. Some of the combatants on the 
other side, by no means oblivious of the material 
condition of the problems involved, would, if they 
allowed the images to remain, have placed them 
beyond the reach of physical contact, and thus 
prevented kisses, though not genuflexions. We do 
not, strange to say, meet as yet with the fantastic 
theory which ultimately gained ground in the Eastern 
Church, that images in the round were to be pro 
hibited, pictures in the flat to be respected. These 
distinctions do not enter into the general theory of 
the subject, and some of them were refinements of a 
later age. 

Another point that bewilders the modern reader is 
the inclusion of images of saints in the prohibition 
to represent divinity in material form. To Theodore 
and his friends this prohibition seems a sacrilegious 

1 Lib. i. Ep. 17. 


attempt to deprive Christ of His followers. This 
objection may seem to us rather futile. We might 
have expected him to say that anything which stimu 
lates our gratitude and admiration for the great men 
of the past must needs, if the characters admired are 
noble and worthy, raise our souls to the contemplation 
of the Divine Excellence, since, as was often repeated, 
man was made in the image of God. The iconoclasts 
view of the Virgin, to whom no more statues were 
to be erected, was regarded as disparaging the 
human birth of Christ, not according to a quite 
possible interpretation as raising her to the rank of 

Thus looking at the general nature of the questions 
involved in this controversy, we may say that the 
arguments urged by the anti-iconoclasts were psycho 
logical, metaphysical, and dogmatic. On the psycho 
logical side, neither they nor their opponents made 
the most of the case, because none of them considered 
that "the proper study of mankind is man." On the 
metaphysical, Theodore had a very strong case, which, 
though he used the names and some of the ideas of its 
greatest formulators, he hardly dared to set in its 
strongest light. On the theological side also he had 
a clear vantage-ground, and he used it with great 
argumentative skill. 

The most formal treatises of Theodore on the 
subject of the icons which have come down to us are 
the three Antirrhetici adversus Iconomachos. Other 
writings, which he sent to friends and afterwards refers 
to, have been lost, unless in some cases they may be 
identified with some of his longer dogmatic epistles. 
It is not at all likely that anything has perished which 
would throw much light on the subject as it presented 


itself to his mind. In the catechetical discourses, 
wherever the subject comes up, as it was never far 
from his heart or lips, and in letters to wavering 
disciples or to inquiring correspondents, he not only 
insists on the same principles but uses the same quota 
tions and illustrations, though they naturally seem to 
wear a slightly different appearance according to the 
type of mind to which they are addressed. A brief 
account of the Antirrhetici, supplemented by reference 
to some of his more private writings, will sufficiently 
show his general views and methods. 

The first Antirrheticus is in the form of a dialogue 
between a heretic and an orthodox believer. The ad 
vantage of this style of treatment is that the ordinary 
stock objections to the writer s own views are brought 
forward, with all the scriptural and patristic citations 
commonly used in their support. There is, however, no 
exhibition of dramatic skill, not the faintest remini 
scence of a Platonic dialogue. The persons speaking 
are not characters, but mouthpieces of divergent 
schools. And the colloquy in which they are sup 
posed to be engaged does not exhibit any graces of 
courtesy or forbearance. 

The first charge brought by Hsereticus is one 
of quasi-pagan idolatry. This is easily refuted by 
distinguishing between false gods and the true God 
incarnate. There was no question here of giving to 
the creature the honour due to the Creator, nor was 
there any attempt to represent the Divine in tangible 
form. When Heretic goes back to the Divine nature 
of Christ, Orthodox shows that His birth and suffer 
ings marked Him as man, circumscribed in the flesh, 
not mere man, or man in general, but a particular man, 
who ate and drank, hungered and thirsted^ laboured 



and rested. 1 Heretic now shifts ground and cites, 
the total prohibition of images by the Mosaic Law. 
Orthodox opposes the Cherubim and the Brazen 
Serpent, made by divine command. If the Jews 
were not allowed to liken Divinity to any creature, 
they were still permitted to use symbols. And the 
words of the prophets denouncing vain idols do not 
apply to the human Christ. Other points are brought 
up : the multiplying of objects reverenced, while the 
real object of worship is One ; the sufficiency of the 
Eucharist as sole image of Christ ; the duality of 
worship where the original and the image are wor 
shipped together. These are answered by reference 
to customs of Church ritual, at Christmas and Easter 
and on Palm Sunday and by assertion of the prin 
ciple that, in all cases, it is not the material object, 
but the Divine Being thereby signified, to Whom 
reverence is paid. The identity is of name, not of 
nature, the image on a coin being an apposite illus 
tration. Heretic attempts a dilemma : If the Divinity 
of Christ is in His image, it is circumscribed ; if not, 
the worship is unlawful. Orthodox answers that 
the Divinity is present, not in nature but by type. 
Heretic would, as a compromise, have the images 
exhibited, but not worshipped. Orthodox distin 
guishes the two kinds of worship or reverence 
\arpeia and TrpoarKvvrjcris. The orthodox arguments are 
clenched by the assertion, that if the contrary is 
true, the Church has greatly erred, an impossible 
conclusion. At the end, a list of iconoclastic state- 

1 I have not yet been able to discover whether the expression 

here, is the same as Ka66\ov dvQpwiros in Antirrheticus in., or 
whether it is mere man in the sense of ordinary or normal man. 


ments is set forth for condemnation, the first and the 
seventh being : 

I. "If any one shall not confess our Lord Jesus 
Christ, come in the flesh, to be circumscribed in flesh, 
whilst remaining in His Divine Nature uncircum- 
scribed he is a heretic." 

VII. " If any one worshipping the image of Christ 
shall say that in it physically the Divinity is wor 
shipped, not in so far as it is a shadow of the flesh 
united thereto, since the Divine is everywhere he 
is a heretic." 

The Second Antirrheticus goes over much the 
same ground, in the same way, but gives a larger 
number of citations and deals with intermediate posi 
tions. Here the heretic acknowledges at the outset 
that Christ was circumscribed in the flesh, but denies 
the propriety of reverencing His likeness. Orthodoxus 
tries to show that, since the Incarnation, Christ has 
been the Prototype of His own image, a doctrine 
which the heretic denies. The relation of image to 
prototype, and the one adoration paid to both, is illus 
trated by sayings from the Fathers, especially Basil 
and Dionysius, to the latter of whom are attributed 
the words : " The true in the semblance, the archetype 
in the image, each in each according to the difference 
in substance." With regard to the absence of teaching 
as to images in Scripture : " There are many things 
which are not written in so many words, but which 
are taught equally with the Scriptures by the Holy 
Fathers. The doctrine that the Son is of one sub 
stance with the Father is not in the inspired Scrip 
tures, but was proclaimed afterwards by the Fathers ; 
also the divinity of the Holy Ghost; and that the 
Mother of Our Lord is Theotokos and many more." 


There is a description from Sophronius of a great 
picture in a church representing Christ with the 
Virgin and saints, apostles and martyrs. A story 
is told (ascribed to Athanasius), of an image or 
picture of Christ, which, when pierced, shed blood 
and water. The analogy of the venerated cross is 
again brought in. When, in reference to the sacred 
things of the Jews, Heretic says that they were not 
worshipped, Orthodox tries to draw him on from 
point to point, to confess that what is holy should 
be venerated, then worshipped. The idolatry paid to 
the Brazen Serpent is said to be not a case in point, 
since the Serpent was not a true type of Christ. 
Heretic seems to have an apostolic saying on his 
side : " Though we have known Christ after the flesh, 
yet henceforth know we him no more." But since 
this interpretation of the text would only mean that 
the risen body of Christ had no physical properties, 
Orthodox is able to refute him easily from the Gospel 
story of the doubt of St. Thomas. He concludes by 
proving the spuriousness of the passage from Epi- 
phanius quoted against him, and denouncing the 
heresy of Manichees and Valentinians, that God 
dwelt among men in appearance and imagination 

The third Antirrheticus is more logically arranged 
than the two others, and is not in dialogue form, the 
objections from the iconoclastic side being stated im 

It is divided under four heads : 

I. On the bodily representation of Christ ; 

II. That Christ circumscribed has an artificial image, 
in which He is made manifest, as it in Him ; 


III. Thafc the worship paid to both is one and un 
divided ; that to Christ and that to His image ; and 

IV. That since Christ is the prototype of His own 
image, He has one similitude (or relation ? = e/mcjxlpeia) 
with it, as one worship. 

Under the first head, Theodore shows how the 
assumption of humanity by Christ involved the as 
sumption of a body with all necessary human attributes. 
He could thus be seen, even more than heard, since 
sight is prior to hearing. The Manichsean doctrine 
of an incorporeal Christ, as well as the conception 
already noticed of a Christ who was " man in general," 
not a particular man, are mentioned to be condemned, 
and the possibility of depicting Christ without deny 
ing either His divinity or the incorporeal nature of 
the Godhead is made to depend on the dogma of 
the "two natures." 

The Second Statement to be established : that Christ 
has an artificial image, takes the word CIKWV in the 
general sense of bodily form, not in that of image in 
particular. A form or similitude may be natural or 
artificial. The Divine similitude of Christ belongs to 
Him through His Divine Father. The human simili 
tude, in virtue of which He can be presented to human 
sense, comes from His human Mother. Suffering 
humanity involves earthly properties and an "image." 

The Third Proposition, as to the one worship of 
Christ and of His Image, follows from what has been 
already laid down. Prototype and image are correlative. 
There cannot possibly be rivalry between them. The 
worship of the image is worship of Christ because the 
image is what it is in virtue of likeness to Christ. Thus 
when we come to the Fourth Proposition, that Christ 
being the Prototype of His own Image, His relation 


(or resemblance = ejmcpepeia) to it is single, and so also 
is His worship, we seem to have in it a restatement 
of the intimate relation between archetype and copy, 
which does not amount to identity of nature or sub 
stance, but which involves complete resemblance. If 
it is objected that " we walk by faith, not by sight," 
the answer is that we, nevertheless, do see though 
" darkly, as in a mirror." If what the mind perceives 
is not also presented to the eye, the mental vision 
itself will not remain. 

In the many letters which Theodore devotes to this 
subject, the same arguments and explanations occur. 
In some, 1 he cites the authority of Councils, especially 
that of the Quinisext or Trullan, which ordered that 
crucifixes should henceforth bear the figure of Christ, 
not, as formerly, that of the Lamb. To John the Gram 
marian, 2 he writes learnedly on substance and accident, 
worship and service. He often insists, to his pupils, 
that the worship of images is only relative (o-^eriKrj) 
and he writes a very severe letter 3 to one who had 
embarked on the controversy without a clear under 
standing of the terms used, and so had risked falling 
into many heresies. In another letter 4 he refutes, by a 
quotation from Basil, the opinion that images are a 
condescension to the illiterate. Perhaps Basil is quoted 
more than any other Father throughout the contro 
versy, and his saying, " Honour goes up from the 
image to the Prototype," though originally applied in 
a quite different connection, is constantly brought in 
for explanation and comment. 

1 Especially ii. 72. 

2 As above hinted, I have some doubts whether the superscription is 

3 Lib. ii. 152. * Lib. ii. 171. 


Possibly this summary account of the writings of 
Theodore against the iconoclasts may leave in the mind 
a feeling of weariness, and of protest against his logo 
machy and want of actuality. If, it may be said, great 
questions were at issue, their greatness is obscured by 
the haze of pseudo-science and logical subtlety. Theo 
dore seems hardly to have grasped the great idea which 
the Greek Fathers had derived from Plato, that the 
whole universe is but a sensible manifestation of a 
reality beyond mortal apprehension. 1 He can scarcely 
be said to have woven his conceptions of the visible 
and the invisible into a sacramental theory of religion 
and of life. Yet if we examine his career and his 
influence on others, we can, perhaps, feel pretty sure 
which aspect of the subject was most constantly and 
practically realised by him and his followers. 

There is a verse of sacred song, written by a Studite 
monk of the next generation, who had deeply imbibed 
the spirit of Theodore, often sung in our English 
churches 2 : 

" Oh happy if ye labour, 

As Jesus did for men ; 
Oh happy if ye hunger, 
As Jesus hungered then." 

The lines are not of great literary merit. Nor do they 
contain any teaching which might not be accepted 
by John the Grammarian or, for matter of that, by 

1 See the last sentence of the Timwus : " This universe hath come into 
being living and visible, the image of its Maker, most fair and perfect, 
even this one and only-begotten world that is." (Mr. Archer-Hind s 
translation. If the other reading, vorjrov for TronjroO be adopted, we 
have a yet closer approximation to Neo-Platonic ideas, both Pagan and 

2 See Neale s " Hymns of the Eastern Church," p. 245. 


Constantino Caballinus himself. But they strike a deep 
vein of Christian feeling, and after all, it seems hardly 
likely that they could have been written by any one 
who held that it was derogatory to the dignity of the 
Eternal Logos to delineate the form of Christ " circum 
scribed in the flesh." 



THE third period of banishment which Theodore had 
to endure may be regarded as historically more im 
portant than either of the other two. It was undergone 
for the sake of a great cause, not on account of a mere 
personal matter which even his lofty scrupulosity could 
hardly raise to a high rank of dignity. And, since the 
Patriarch and the monks were now united in oppo 
sition to the Court, it appears far more clearly than 
any of the former controversies in the light of a conflict 
between Church and State. In its relation to his 
personal character it is equally significant, as it brings 
to light his splendid powers of endurance, his inde 
fatigable activity, and the paternal attitude, tender yet 
commanding, in which he stood towards the persons 
and the communities that looked to him for encourage 
ment and guidance. Again, the work that was rudely 
interrupted by the imperial decree was much more 
complete and advanced than when last he had been 
obliged to leave it, and no greater proof of Theodore s 
powers as a leader of men is required than the fact 
that Studium weathered all these storms, and could 
afterwards look back on the period of persecution as 
the most glorious in the annals of the monastery. 

There is abundant material for the history of these 
years in the multitude of letters written by Theodore 

from his places of imprisonment, taken in conjunction 



with the two Lives. The dates assigned to the letters 
cannot, however, be taken as certain, and the Lives, 
now, even more than formerly, show the fatal results, 
common in most biography, of preferring edification 
to truth. Certainly the character of the martyr does 
not gain thereby, and the whole question as to the 
nature of the persecution is rendered obscure. 

As we have already seen, the persecution of 
Leo V. was very different from that of Constantine 
Caballinus, with which the biographers like to com 
pare it. The plain facts that, through it all, Theodore 
was never for any length of time debarred from the 
use of pen and ink, or from the society of his friend 
and pupil Nicolas, and that he was generally able to 
receive communications, in letters and gifts, from 
various friends, is enough to show that the treatment 
he received was not peculiarly harsh. When we 
further reflect that on no occasion would Theodore 
promise to restrict himself in the use of any liberty 
of speech and writing allowed to him, and that 
his letters were generally of a highly inflammatory 
character, opposing, as strongly as possible, the policy 
of his sovereign, and even stigmatising his church as 
being in a state of schism, we wonder at the leniency 
of Leo s government. Unfortunately, however, it seems 
to have been on some occasions corruption rather 
than humanity that tempered the imperial severity. 
Theodore and his friends had no conscientious scruples 
against the use of bribes. In one letter, Theodore ex 
pressly thanks a lady for having bought kindness for 
him by her gifts to the gaolers. 1 And we may be 
inclined to attribute other instances of apparent 
clemency to the same cause. Doubtless the custodians 

1 Lib. ii. Ep. 94. 


of the recalcitrant monks had orders which would have 
justified harsh measures. But some slight pecuniary 
inducement from the prisoner s friends and Theodore, 
be it remembered, had friends in the higher and 
wealthier circles of Byzantine society would secure 
his comparative immunity, until the discovery of some 
dangerous action on his part, or the machinations of 
a private enemy, might lead, for a time, to the use 
of a stricter rule. Of course the readiness to receive 
bribes may have operated along with more respectable 
motives. There can be no doubt that many people 
regarded Theodore as a saint and confessor, and that 
those who had custody of him were likely to be 
influenced ;by his popular reputation as well as by his 
dignified personality. Nor need we hesitate to accept 
Theodore s own statements as to his actual if inter 
mittent sufferings, which, once at least, made him 
think that his last hour had come. But it is in action, 
rather than in suffering, in action that must needs 
bring the suffering which he has no desire to avoid, 
that Theodore appears at his best. 

The place of Theodore s detention was twice 
changed. First of all, as we have seen, he was sent 
to Metopa, on the confines of Bithynia and Phrygia. 
The old division of the Empire into provinces had 
gradually been superseded by the system of Themes, 
which were more military in character, and each of 
which was ruled by an official bearing the title of 
Strategics. 1 The division is ascribed in the first place 

1 In the Lives of Theodore, the affected preference for variety in 
nomenclature is tiresome and puzzling. Thus in Vita B, 39, it is not easy 
to see whether by 6 T^S tyas o-r/aaroTreSdpx^s is simply meant 6 ffTpaTyybs 
TUV AvaToXiKuv. aTpa.Toireddpx ns seems to stand for a higher office than 
ffTparrjybs. But the Prsefect of the East had been done away. In c. 42 we 
have 6 rrjs 


to Heraclius, but it was further organised by Leo 
the Isaurian. Perhaps at this time there were already 
twenty-eight themes, sixteen in Asia and twelve in 
Europe. The Strategi were responsible for the prisoners 
sent into their respective themes, and apparently the 
variety of treatment which Theodore experienced was 
due to the variety of officials. Metopa was probably 
in the Opscian theme. Boneta, to which he was 
removed in order that his influence might be checked, 
was certainly in the Anatolic. Smyrna, his third and 
severest place of confinement, was in the Thracensian. 
The removal of Theodore from Metopa to Boneta was 
entrusted to a certain Nicetas, surnamed Alexius, with 
injunctions to keep him from oral or epistolary com 
munication with outsiders. Theodore refused to be 
come silent, and consequently Nicetas received orders 
to give his prisoner a hundred lashes. It may seem 
strange that the prisoner was regarded as the culpable 
party, not Nicetas himself. But Nicetas had, by 
honourable or dishonourable means, been won over to 
Theodore s side, and had recourse to a " pious fraud." 
He procured a thick sheep-skin, hung it over the 
prisoner s shoulders, chastised it in a manner not to 
hurt Theodore himself, and smeared the end of it with 
a little of his own blood in order to complete the 
delusion. Theodore thus escaped for a time. But 
shortly afterwards, a man of clerical status from the 
neighbouring theme, the Thracensian, 1 placed himself 
under Theodore s instruction, with the result that when 
he returned home, he caused his friends to separate 
themselves from their bishop, who was on the icono 
clastic side. The bishop complained both to the 

1 Not, of course, to be confounded with Thrace. 


Strategus and to the Emperor. Orders were sent 
down for another flogging, but again the design was 
frustrated, it was said by the impression made on the 
gaoler by the dignified aspect of Theodore, who quietly 
took off his clothes, saying : " Child, do as you are 
bid." But unfortunately, a certain Anastasius, who 
seems to have had some commission from the Emperor, 
came to make inquiries into the execution of the 
orders given, and on discovering the state of affairs, 
gave fresh orders for a scourging, which was this 
time actually inflicted and for closer imprisonment. 
Theodore and Nicolas were, for a time at least, closely 
cooped up, and subjected to considerable privation. 1 
Yet somehow, by fair means or foul, they managed to 
receive and to send out letters. A catechetical address 
from Theodore to his spiritual children was allowed 
to fall into the hands of the Emperor. The Strategus 
of the Anatolian Theme was ordered to inflict another 
scourging. The imprisonment had now lasted three 
years. Possibly the Emperor discerned that so long 
as he was in the Anatolian Theme, near to many of his 
old friends and colleagues, Theodore could not possibly 
be quite suppressed. He was accordingly moved into 
the Thracensian, to the city of Smyrna. According to 
his own testimony 2 his imprisonment was severer than 
formerly, yet the fact remains that he was able to say 
this in another catechetical letter. In all his sufferings 
Theodore showed a buoyancy of spirit and a joy in 
conscious martyrdom which, while it increases our 

1 According to the Lives their supply of food was cut so short that 
Theodore himself, leaving the prison supplies to Nicolas, kept himself 
alive on wafers (probably supplied by friends for celebration) until a 
superior officer (r?7^ovo/cwrep6s rts crarpaTr^s) came and insisted on increase 
of rations. 

2 Lib. ii. Ep. 66. 


admiration for the martyr, shows us also the difficult 
position of the persecutor, who was obliged either to 
allow his authority to be defied or to use great 
severity. Unfortunately for Leo, he failed on both 
sides. Theodore s influence continued to increase, 
while his painful captivity aroused the sympathy and 
emulation of all who heard of it. Smyrna continued 
to be his place of captivity until the death of Leo V. 

It would hardly be desirable to attempt here a full 
account of the letters written by Theodore during his 
banishment, seeing that some hundreds 1 of them are 
still extant. We may briefly describe the general 
purport of his correspondence as it falls under three 
heads : ( i ) letters to his Studite monks, with those 
who belonged to Saccudio or in any other way came 
under the designation of "fathers and brothers"; (2) 
letters of exhortation to fix the purpose or confirm the 
faith of others, especially church dignitaries and heads 
of communities of women ; and (3) letters written 
directly with the purpose of bringing pressure to bear 
on the Emperor and his officials, particularly those to 
Pope Pascal I. and to the other great Patriarchs. 

I. Theodore had advised all the Studite monks to 
leave the monastery, and most of them seem to have 
followed his directions. But dispersion by no means 
involved abandonment of the monastic life. The 
weaker of them, however, felt sorely tempted to return 
to the world, arid therefore the exhortations of their 
abbot were even more needed than in quiet times. 
But though we have many spirited letters " to the 
dispersed brethren," Theodore was not a father who 

1 There are 221 letters in Book ii., of which almost all belong to the 
Third Exile and the virtual exile that followed, and 296 in the Cozza- 
Luzi collection, of which a good many are of the same period. 




regarded all his children in the mass, and a very 
large number are addressed to individuals. In some 
cases we have very stern denunciations of those who 
have been enticed away by an " Eve," l in one instance, 
the delinquent is told to place his lady, if she consents, 
in a nunnery. Other letters are written to congratulate 
on firmness shown and to assist in arguments against 
heretics. All the arguments which Theodore had been 
using in his own writings and a good many of the 
passages from Scripture and the Fathers which he was 
in the habit of quoting, are collected for the use of his 
pupils. Evidently his favourite correspondent, one to 
whom a large number of letters were written, marked 
by signs of affection and confidence, and giving 
directions for all manner of occasions, was his "son" 
Naucratius, afterwards his successor at Studium, and 
probably already selected as such by Theodore. For 
a time, 2 at least, Naucratius was a prisoner, but he 
seems generally to have been at large and influential. 
It would seem that some of the Studite monks had 
been unable to flee, and had consequently been ex 
posed to the vengeance of the authorities. The head 
ship of the two monasteries, Studium and Saccudio, 
was given to a monk named Leontius, formerly a 
strong, or at least a demonstrative adherent of 
Theodore, now a renegade, though we find him re 
turning to obedience later. Leontius seems to have 
been aided in asserting his authority by Bardas, a 
kinsman of the Emperor. 3 The treatment to which 

1 Lib. ii. Ep. 88, 102, &c. 2 Lib. ii. 67. 

3 He is not, I think, mentioned in Theodore s letters, but the Lives 
give the story of a miraculous cure from a disease in consequence of 
the prayers of Theodore, who reproached him with the scourging of 


the faithful monks were exposed was so severe that 
one of them, Thaddaeus, died of the effects. This 
monk seems to have been a special prote gd of 
Theodore. He was a Scythian i.e. probably a Slav 
by birth, and had been emancipated from slavery and 
received into the monastery, where he distinguished 
himself by his zeal. But after all, it was a great 
thing for the cause to have a martyr, whose prayers 
might be invoked and whose example could be appealed 
to. 1 The means which Theodore used to keep his 
monks loyal comprised strict separation from all con 
taminated with the heresy, and mutual encouragement 
in persecution. As we have seen, he treated the 
Byzantine Church as a heretical branch. The buildings 
in which the iconoclastic clergy officiated were to be 
avoided, even for prayer. To receive the sacraments 
at the hand of an iconoclastic priest was a grievous 
offence. He gave instructions to Naucratius 2 with 
regard to the monks who had lapsed and then returned 
to obedience. They were to be rigorously excluded 
from the Communion till such time as a lawful and 
orthodox council should have been held, though should 
that event be long delayed, the time of penance might 
be shortened. Any prevarication or act of compromise 
done under compulsion could only be done away by 
prolonged penance. But these negative measures 
could, of course, have effected little, if there had not 
been a general readiness on the part of the faithful to 
minister to one another s spiritual and corporeal needs. 
It is not easy to say where all the scattered monks 
were secreted to whom Theodore s encyclical letters 
were addressed. Some of them may have taken up 

1 Lib. ii. 5, 21, 37. 2 Especially in Lib. ii. n, 40. 


their abode in deserted monasteries or waste places, 
where the officials were too indifferent or too corrupt 
to interfere with them. Certain it is that many com 
munities which looked to Theodore as to a spiritual 
father held firm and hoped for better times. His 
usual mode of exhortation may be illustrated in a 
general translation of one of his encyclicals, which 
shows both his weaker and his stronger points. It 
was written on the occasion already mentioned, of his 
punishment and closer seclusion after one of his ad 
dresses had been brought under the cognisance of 
the Emperor. 1 

" Rejoice, my longed-for brothers and fathers, for 
my tidings are of joy. Again have we, unworthy as 
we are, been held worthy to confess a good confession ; 
again have we both been tormented for the sake of the 
Lord. For brother Nicolas also has striven most nobly 
and most faithfully. We, for all our lowliness, have 
seen the blood flowing from our bodies upon the ground, 
we have looked on our own scars and sweat, the effects 
of our stripes. Is not this joyful ? is not this a thing 
for spiritual exultation ? But what am I, wretched 
man that I am, to be numbered with you, worthy 
confessors of Christ, I the most unprofitable of all men ? 
The cause whence all this came about was that a former 
Catechetical Oration of mine had come into the hands 
of the Emperor, who thereupon sent to the Commander 
[of the Theme, o-TparvyovvTa] ordering that the leader 
of the band [Kopms KO^TO] should come to us. And 
he having come, with officers and soldiers, in the 
middle of the night, they surrounded, with crowding 
and clamour, the little house in which we were, as if 

1 Lib. ii. 38. 



they were tracking a wild beast, and having hastily 
broken down the enclosure with pickaxes, produced, 
scanned, and displayed the Oration. We confessed to 
having written it, as was the will of God. But he 
desired only one thing, that we would yield to the 
will of the Emperor. We replied what truth de 
manded : * Far be it from us ! we do not set our God 
at nought ! And other answers we gave such as 
were fit. Thereupon he scourged us heavily. And 
the Brother (Nicolas) since his first imprisonment and 
indictment, has suffered as yet nothing very terrible. 
But I being low and weak, reduced by violent fevers 
and by severe labours, scarcely escaped with my life. 
But God in His mercy soon took pity on me, and the 
Brother gave what help he could. But still the marks 
remain and have not been completely cured. So things 
were, and I have told you of the suffering, knowing 
that you desire to learn so as to sympathise. But 
what came next ? Fierce threatening and closer con 
finement. For our guards and their headmen have 
been charged with threats not to let us give forth any 
sound, still less to write any word. Shall we then 
tremble and be silent, having regard to the fear of 
men, not of God ? Nay, verily. But so long as the 
Lord opens a door to us we shall not cease, so far as 
in us lies, to fulfil our task, fearing and dreading the 
judgment on our silence : * If any man draw back, my 
soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not 
of them that draw back, but of them that believe to 
the saving of the soul/ 

"Hence this letter of mine to all the dispersed 
brethren, grievously afflicted by persecution ; and 
especially to you who are confessors of Christ. Let 
us endure, my brethren beloved, being ever more 


strengthened, not cast down, in our sufferings. We 
have bodies, 1 let us not spare them. We are tortured 
for Christ s sake ; let us rejoice. He who has abounded 
in afflictions should be the more joyful, as one who 
has earned higher wages. If any man dreads the pain 
of the rod, let him think of the eternal torment, and 
shake off his fear. These are to those as a dream, as 
the missiles of babes. I entreat and adjure you, let 
us be made glad by our sufferings for Christ, severe as 
they may be according to the flesh. Let us look to 
that which cometh and remaineth, not to that which 
is now and is soon passing away. Let us desire that 
our blood may mingle with the blood of the martyrs, 
our portion with the lot of the confessors; that we 
may exult with them to all eternity. Who is prudent ? 
Who is wise ? Who is the good exchanger, giving 
blood to receive spirit, despising the flesh to obtain the 
kingdom of God ? He that loveth his life shall lose 
it/ saith the Lord, and he that hateth his life in this 
world shall keep it unto life eternal/ Let us hearken 
to His words, let us follow Him. Wheresoever I 
am/ He saith, there shall also my servant be. And 
where was He ? On the Cross. And we are there, 
poor and lowly, as those that learn of Him. I exhort 
you to suffer this word of exhortation, for I have 
written but briefly. You know that we, sinful as we 
are, rejoice and keep up heart, if only you stand fast 
in the Lord. Greetings from Nicolas, my fellow- 
prisoner and fellow-labourer and fellow-soldier, and 
your most faithful brother. Greet one another with 
a holy kiss, as combatants your fellow-combatants, as 
persecuted your comrades in persecution, all as loving 

1 Or " they are flesh" (<n/>m eltrl). 


one another in faith. If any one does not acknowledge 
Our Lord Jesus Christ depicted in the body, let him 
be anathema from the Trinity. The grace of Our 
Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." 

This letter may seem to modern ears overstrung, 
self-conscious, abnormal. But the feeling it expresses 
is intensely real. We may dislike the tendency to 
dilate on personal sufferings. Yet if the blood of the 
martyrs is the seed of the Church, it were bad policy 
in the martyrs to check its operation. Even the curse 
at the end comes from a life-long conviction, and is not 
an ebullition of personal spite. Theodore wrote not for 
us, but for the men of his time, to whom he seemed 
to hold the rank of a spiritual father, who saw no weak 
ness in his complaints, and were strengthened by his 
fortitude, who did not perceive his exaggerations, but 
were ready to receive his message. 

II. It is not easy to separate the letters written with 
authority from those of a private and friendly char 
acter, since a good deal of importance was attached to 
all that Theodore said, and questions were continually 
being put to him on matters of doctrine and discipline. 
He seems, possibly through the posthumous influence 
of his mother, to have obtained great influence over a 
good many religious communities of women, and to 
have felt responsibility for their conduct and pros 
perity. " We are one church of coenobites," l he wrote 
to a nun, "I visit you by letter, my spiritual sister, 
and ask after your welfare in the Lord ; whether you 
keep to the glorious confession of Christ ; whether you 
maintain securely the faith entrusted to you by the 
Holy Spirit ; whether you are strong in the Lord and 

Lib. ii. 53 : M-ta EK/cXTjflia /cou/o/Sia/ciJ 


not in terror of the impious." Both to individuals 
and to communities he wrote letters of encouragement 
and of warning. A community of thirty women who 
had held firm against persecution received his warm con 
gratulations. 1 He shows discrimination in dealing with 
separate cases. Thus he sanctions, 2 for a short time 
only, the adoption of a secular habit by a nun who 
feared lest she might not be able to resist the demands 
of the iconoclasts. But she is not to retain that habit 
permanently. To a patrician lady, who seems to have 
been of monastic status, 3 he writes a kind letter on her 
return to the faith after having lapsed, and exhorts 
her, in her penitence, to have regard to her health. 
In general, however, he is no less strict in ex 
horting women than in his injunctions to men, and 
rejoices in their steadfastness as in that of his own 

There were a good many bishops on his side, 
notably his brother, Joseph of Thessalonica, Peter of 
Nicsea, Theophylactus of Nicomedia, and Theophilus of 
Ephesus. Joseph seems to have amused himself, as 
did Theodore himself, 4 in making metrical refutations 
of the iconoclasts arguments, some of which had been 
lost in transit. To all ecclesiastical dignitaries, Theo 
dore writes in terms of studied compliment, yet in a 
way that suggests anxiety to retain their adhesion. 
Several abbots received from him letters of encourage 
ment and sympathy. We find also among his corre 
spondents many laymen who held offices and titles, 

1 Lib. ii. 59. 2 Lib. ii. 52. 

3 Lib. ii. 68, i.e. if we identify her with Irene, the mother of Euphro- 
syne, of whom more hereafter. 

4 Or is it possible that the verses attributed to Theodore were really 
written by Joseph ? See Lib. ii. 31. 


yet whom he evidently regards as well inclined to his 
cause. This fact would strengthen the supposition to 
which one is led in other ways, that, as a rule, the 
persecution was confined to the clergy and the monks 
and nuns. Indeed, Theodore congratulates a certain 
Gregoras l as being the only layman in authority who 
had made a good confession and therefore suffered 
persecution. There must have been a good many 
among the laity who received the sacraments secretly 
from orthodox priests, and who made some efforts to 
alleviate the sufferings of the confessors. 

III. But from a more general point of view, the 
most interesting part of Theodore s correspondence is 
that by which he sought to obtain the help of the 
Roman See in putting down the heresies of the East. 
The cause was now one which had, prima facie, a 
better chance of receiving Papal attention than so 
purely personal a controversy as that concerning 
Steward Joseph. For the Papacy had definitely 
taken up the cause of the icons, though not quite 
as decisively as the Eastern monks might have de 
sired, and a great Pope, anxious to restore ecclesiasti 
cal unity, might Lave felt strongly moved against 
the schismatic Emperor and Patriarch. But men and 
measures were, in the West, on a smaller scale than 
during the life of Charles, and those of Popes Hadrian 
and Leo. The Emperor Lewis the Pious might be 
ready enough to pray for the unity of the Church, 
but had neither power nor inclination to interest him 
self actively in the cause. Pope Paschal I. may have 
had wider views, but the management of affairs in 
Italy, and in the West generally, was sufficiently 

i Lib. ii. 56. 


engrossing, and his power in the Western Church 
was not altogether unquestioned. 

It was, however, to Paschal that Theodore now 
appealed. The letter is shorter than that formerly 
addressed to Leo. With his own name, Theodore 
associates those of four other abbots. He addresses 
the Pope as "Master and Apostolic Father," and 
acknowledges him as possessor of the keys, and as 
corner-stone of the church. He narrates briefly the 
misfortunes that have occurred, the imprisonment of 
the Patriarch, the insult done to the sacred images, 
and through them to their Prototype ; the exile of 
priests and monks ; the great sufferings inflicted on 
the faithful ; the general terror. " And thou when 
thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren ; now 
is the time and place ; help us according to the 
command received from God. Stretch forth thy 
hand as far as thou canst; thou hast power from 
God in that thou art above them all. . . . Good 
shepherd, lay down thy life for the sheep. . . . Let it 
be heard under heaven that by thee the presumptuous 
ones have been synodically accursed." At the same 
time, Theodore wrote to friends in Eome, begging 
for their co-operation, especially to the Archimandrite 
Basil, 1 to whom he insisted on the essential unity 
of the Church. With the idea of a synod in his 
mind, Theodore wrote also to the other parties whose 
presence was necessary for a lawful council, the Patri 
archs of Alexandria and Antioch, to whom he sent 
an identical letter, and to the Patriarch of Jerusalem. 

The result was partially successful. In several 
letters written, apparently in the course of the follow- 

1 Ep. in Cozza-Luzi Collection, 192. 


ing year, Theodore triumphantly asserted that Eome 
was on his side. In another letter to Paschal, he 
expresses delight and gratitude at the kind messages 
which the brothers whom he had sent to Rome had 
brought back with them. But in this second letter, 
there is no mention of a synod or council. Probably 
the Pope had suggested to the emissaries that some 
personal communication with the Emperor might be 
tried first. In any case, Paschal wrote to Leo, using 
the common arguments against iconoclasm. 1 It must 
have been the work of some Greek exiles, more bold 
and consistent in their sacramental doctrines than 
Theodore himself. The Neo-Platonic thought of the 
material as image of the spiritual, is handled as 
by a disciple of the Areopagite. It is not likely 
that, in any case, the representations from Rome 
would have changed the imperial policy. But a 
very different series of events was soon to restore 
the sufferers to liberty and hope. 

From all that we can gather of the character of 
Leo V., by reading between the lines of partial and pre 
judiced chroniclers, he seems, in his government, to have 
been just and economical, and one likely to offend vested 
interests in his measures of administrative reform. 2 It 
is not easy to tell whether the fate that came upon him 
was provoked more by his good or by his evil deeds, 
but probably the machinations against him were devised 
by those who hated him as economiser, not as perse- 

1 The letter, in a somewhat mutilated state, has been published by 
Cardinal Pitra (Jur. hist, et mon. Gr. vol. ii. p. ix. seq.). See also 
Schneider, Th. v. St. p. 86. 

2 See an appreciation of his government in Finlay s "History of 
Greece," vol. ii. bk. i. ch. ii. But it is hard to acquit him of cruelty, 
or at least of ruthlessness, though he may only have followed the 
prevalent customs in espionage and torture. 


cutor. The leader of the rebellion was Michael the 
Amorian, a soldier who had risen from the ranks, 
and who had come to possess the Emperor s confi 
dence. His treachery was discovered by means of 
spies, and Michael was thrown into prison, a respite 
for his execution being allowed over Christmas Day. 
But Michael contrived to communicate with his fellow- 
conspirators through a priest whom the Emperor had, 
by special request, sent to receive his confession. A 
message from the prisoner was conveyed to the insur 
gents, to the effect that if they did not make an effort 
to release him, he would denounce them to the 
Emperor. The effort was made, by the cunning of 
a friend of Michael s, Theoctistus. 1 The Emperor was 
going to an early morning service in his chapel, to 
which a limited number of outsiders were admitted. 
Among these were some of the conspirators, in priests 
robes, with daggers under their arms. Leo, who had 
a fine voice, himself took part in the singing. At a 
certain point in the psalms, the assassins, as previ 
ously arranged, rushed forward to despatch him. He 
resisted, using a cross as weapon ; then, seeing his 
case hopeless, took refuge at the altar, and asked for 
mercy. " This is the time for killing, not for sacra 
ments," was the reply of a rude giant among the 
conspirators. Leo fell dead. Michael was called 
forth from his dungeon, and set on the imperial 
throne. Leo s wife and sons were forced to adopt 
the monastic life. 

The letters written by Theodore when he received 
the news of this most dastardly murder are by no 

1 Not, of course, to be confounded with the Theoctistus of whom we 
read under Michael I. 


means pleasant reading. They recall the triumph of 
Athanasius at the sudden death of Arius, and are a 
fresh proof, if one were required, that persecution, if it 
braces the soul of the sufferer, does not always enlighten 
his judgment or refine his taste. Even the sacri 
legious character of the deed does not seem to have 
shocked Theodore. The sacred building had lost its 
character when given up to schismatic and iconoclastic 
worship. But if he seems to represent the deed as non- 
criminal, it is simply because he regards it as an act 
of divine justice. He probably would have agreed that 
the conspirators were murderers, but from his particular 
point of view, they are instruments in the hand of 
Providence, as much as hail-storm and thunderbolts. 
After all, it was not his business to inquire into the 
rights and wrongs of an action for which neither 
he nor his friends were in the least responsible. He 
had but to receive the results of that action with all 
thankfulness, and to use his utmost efforts to make 
the most of the unexpected turn of affairs for the 
restoration of the exiles and the re-establishment of 
their cause. - 



THE disappointments which proverbially lie in wait 
for restored exiles soon arrived to curb the jubilant 
delight of the monks at the supposed end of their 
sufferings and the restoration of the good cause. 
Michael, like most usurpers, would have preferred to 
reverse to some extent the policy of his prede 
cessor without taking such decisive measures as to 
threaten a vigorous opposition and the downfall of 
his unsteady throne. He was no fanatic and not in 
capable of toleration. He seems to have been a fairly 
able general, and if it is true that he rejected the 
proffered aid of the Bulgarians against his Christian 
subjects, 1 he must have had some sense of the dignity 
of his position. He also, in his dealings with the great 
Western Power, appears somewhat of a diplomatist. 
But he does not show any greatness of character nor 
yet the statesmanlike ability needed to cope with the 
unusual difficulties which beset his reign : economic 
distress ; political disaffection ; formidable and hostile 
neighbours ; and a bitterly distracted church. 

One of his first acts that which called forth the 
prematurely triumphant utterances of Theodore already 
referred to was to issue an edict for the liberation of 
the persecuted monks and their friends. But it need 
hardly be said that to Theodore no liberation was to 

1 Theoph. Continuator, c. 17 (p. 65). 


be accounted as such that did not carry with it full 
power to labour for the reassertion of the cause at 
stake. He welcomed the new Emperor not merely as 
a personal benefactor, but as a possible Josiah, to whom 
the task had been entrusted of restoring pure religion. 
This restoration would, to his mind, imply the return 
of the monks to their old possessions and their former 
ways of life; the dethronement of the schismatic 
Patriarch with the recall of Nicephorus ; the replacing 
of the sacred icons where they had formerly received 
reverence ; and the complete reconciliation of the 
Byzantine see with that of Eome. 

The activity of Theodore was thus directed to his 
one object by various channels. He must write to his 
" spiritual children " everywhere, congratulating them 
on their improved position, but urging them to remit 
no efforts towards the achievement of their hopes. The 
Patriarch Nicephorus must be kept firm by definite 
though very respectful exhortations to do his duty. 
The arguments in favour of icon-worship must be re 
peated even ad nauseam to ecclesiastics, to statesmen, 
to the Emperor himself. And in all communications 
with the imperial power the principle must be kept in 
the forefront that no arrangement can possibly be 
satisfactory that does not acknowledge the Eoman 
primacy, and the complete independence, in matters 
concerning religious doctrine and discipline, of the 
ecclesiastical authority, which can never be lawfully 
subordinated to that of the State. 

Theodore could rely on the support of some 
powerful persons about Court, notably the Logothetes 
John, Pantoleon, and Demochares, and -the Magister 
Stephen. 1 In his letters to these persons, Theodore 

1 Different from Stephen a secretis to whom Letter 75 is written. 


expresses some disappointment with the slow pace 
at which things are progressing : " Tell me, most 
worthy friend, how is it that now the winter is over, 
we have not a perfect spring, but only a spell of 
moderate weather, with a suggestion of seasonable 
times ? The fire has been quenched. Why has the 
smoke been left behind ? " The disappointment may 
have been due to the answer sent by Michael to the 
representations of Nicephorus, who was probably act 
ing under Theodore s direction in writing from his 
retirement to demand a reversal of policy and the 
restoration of the images. 1 To this request the 
Emperor returned the somewhat curt answer, that 
he did not intend to make any changes. If the ex- 
Patriarch wished for restoration to his office, he must 
comply with the Emperor s policy. Nicephorus held 
firm, strengthened by personal intercourse with 
Theodore, who visited him as soon as possible, and 
kept up frequent communications with him when 
they were both in the suburbs of Constantinople. 

Theodore had also written very decidedly to the 
Emperor. 2 At first, apparently, he entertained, or 
at least manifested, no doubt as to the intentions of 
Michael. He congratulates him on the good work 
begun, and adjures him to complete it, by restoring 
the cult of the icons and the unity of the Church : 
"To believe in Christ is nothing else than to believe 
that the Son of God the Father, having become a com 
plete man, was formed after our own image and like 
ness [e^eiKOVi^erei Ka& O/ULOIUXTIV rj/jiwv^ SO as to be nought 

other than what we are [? f lva w a\\o n e lrj Trap 

1 Continuator of Theophanes, c. 8. Told at greater length in the Life 
of Nicephorus by Ignatius. 

2 Lib. ii. 74. 


while He remained himself uncircumscribed with the 
Father and the Spirit in so far as He is very God." 
He goes on with the old comparison between the 
Emperor s head stamped on a coin and the picture of 
Christ. Eecognition or denial of the copy implies 
recognition or denial of the original. Finally : " Our 
Church has of late torn herself away from the four 
Patriarchs, in vain lawlessness, but now is the accepted 
time/ most Christian Governor, * now is the day of 
salvation, to reconcile us to Christ, by the mediation 
and with the approval of your pacific Empire ; to 
unite us with the head of the Churches of God, 
namely Rome, and through Eome with the three 
Patriarchs, that being like-minded we may with one 
mouth glorify God." 

While the Emperor was considering the role 
suggested to him, the factions trying to assert their 
rival causes and interests, and the exiles flocking back 
to their homes, Theodore himself was travelling from 
Smyrna to Constantinople. He seems to have met 
with an enthusiastic welcome from the inhabitants of 
the religious houses at which he stayed on the way. 
He lingered for a time near Lake Metata and then at 
a place called Pteleae. On the way two men of influence 
visited him or were visited by him, Leo the Consular, 
and Theoctistus who had been Magister and was now 
a monk. At Pteleoe he enjoyed a visit from his brother 
Joseph. He travelled on to Chalcedon, where he saw 
the ex-Patriarch Nicephorus, and then seems to have 
settled for a time at the monastery of Crescentius, close to 
Nicomedia. Here strange to say, we are in the dark 
as to the point on which we should naturally expect to 
have definite information : whether or no Theodore 
actually returned to Studium and resumed at once his 


authority and his functions there. His modern bio 
graphers seem, perhaps too hastily, to have assumed that 
he did so. But neither the Lives nor the Letters are 
quite explicit on this subject. We are told that he re 
turned to his beloved province (or HapoiKia), but this 
word may stand for those parts of Bithynia with which 
he had for many years been familiar, where his kinsfolk 
held property, and where there were many religious 
houses devoted to his cause. No doubt Theodore hoped 
to be reinstated before long at the head of his monastery, 
but such reinstatement was hardly implied in the bare 
remission of his exile, and it is almost impossible that 
he would have consented to return without a clear 
understanding that the old ritual was to be restored. 
Such an understanding, we can easily imagine, might 
have been taken by him for granted without formal 
leave, but in such case, we should probably have heard 
of some such occurrence as that of the Palm Sunday 
before his exile. From the data that remain to us we 
can only feel sure that the first weeks perhaps months 
were spent in strengthening his partisans, both lay 
and monastic, for the coming struggle. The space which 
would naturally be devoted to this important part of 
the narrative in the Lives is a lacuna, stuffed for 
padding with a very insipid and irrelevant series of 
miracles, including the drying up of a flood, the frighten 
ing away of a tiger, and the castigation, during sleep, 
of a Sardinian monk who had made light of Theodore s 
hymns. More pleasing, as certainly more probable, is 
the story of how he was consulted by an ascetic suffer 
ing under calumnious accusations, whom he advised to 
wear shoes in winter, and in his food and clothing to 
live a little more after the ways of ordinary people. 
Michael seems, like many well-meaning autocrats 


deficient in sympathetic imagination, to have thought 
that the whole iconoclastic controversy could be settled 
by a conference in which the leaders on both sides 
might be persuaded to accept a policy of compromise, 
with local toleration. We have among the Letters 1 
one from an assembly of bishops and abbots, drawn up 
by Theodore in the name of the rest, in which they 
state that they are assembled by order of the Emperor, 
and request him to give them a personal hearing. The 
letter is very much to the same purport as the private 
one already quoted, but it insists yet more strongly on 
the supremacy of Rome, quoting the text, "Thou art 
Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church," fand 
it rejects indignantly the proposal probably made to 
the orthodox bishops and abbots in their assembly, 
that they should hold a conference with those of the 
opposite persuasion. Michael seems to have gone 
further in his proposed concessions than Leo had gone, 
in that he would have put the ultimate decision into 
the hands of persons acceptable to Theodore and his 
party. 2 But to Theodore, anything short of an oecu 
menical council seemed insufficient to determine the 
questions at issue. If the local conference were to 
have been merely preliminary, it seems not improbable 
that he would have agreed to it, but he doubtless saw 
that the Emperor would make it final, and would 
endeavour to settle fundamental points of doctrine by 
means of an irresponsible and manipulated debating 

In the two Lives of Theodore there is a curious 
little divergence, since one 3 expressly mentions the 

1 Lib. ii. 86. 

2 This is to be gathered from Lib. ii. Ep. 229. 
3 A, 118. 


Patriarch Nicephorus as taking part in the doings 
of the assembly demanded by the monks, and the 
other 1 as definitely excludes him. This must have 
been a crucial time for Nicephorus, since the icono 
clastic Patriarch, Theodotus, died in this same year, 
and there can be little doubt that the Emperor would 
have been glad to help towards the extinction of 
the schism by reappointing Nicephorus, under condi 
tions which might be agreed upon. It was in all 
probability Theodore who prevented any such con 
ditions from being made. This supposition would 
account for the close union between the two leaders, 
and their mutual deference, which seemed to the bio 
graphers to afford a most edifying spectacle. Michael 
appointed to the vacant Patriarchate a leader of the 
opposite party whom we have already mentioned, 
Antonius of Syllseum. 

Meantime, the desired audience was granted. 2 The 
bishops and abbots were introduced into the imperial 
presence by one of their friends at Court probably 
one of Theodore s correspondents. They discoursed in 
defence of the icons, apparently without much lucidity, 
as the Emperor after a time turned from them to 
Theodore and asked him to state the case. Theodore 
repeated the arguments of the others, probably with 
greater clearness, and thus obtained a definite, if 
hardly satisfactory answer: "What you say is all 
very well, excellent in fact, but I have up till this 
time never worshipped an image, and I mean to leave 
the Church as I found it. I command that you have 
full licence to follow the teaching of what you call the 
orthodox faith. Outside the city, you may each of 

1 JB, 60. 2 Vita A t n&; Vita B t 60. 



you do as he likes, without fearing or expecting that 
any interference will come to you from my govern 
ment." So saying he dismissed the assembly. 

The words "outside the city" were decisive. 
Local toleration with local persecution is seldom a 
satisfactory expedient, and in a state in which the 
capital is of such paramount importance as Constanti 
nople was to the Empire, the concession seemed 
nugatory. To Theodore it meant that he must hence 
forth keep at a distance from Studium, and that the 
great monastery which owned his headship could not 
again become the headquarters of his party. He with 
drew to Crescentius, near Nicomedia. Great as his 
disappointment must have been, matters were not 
quite hopeless. The persecution was stayed, and his 
influence was allowed free course both among his 
spiritual children and in the higher circles of the 
court and state. 

It was probably in the religious houses of the 
coast and islands in the near neighbourhood of Con 
stantinople that the influences were growing and spread 
ing which led, though not in Theodore s lifetime, to 
the ultimate triumph of the icons. Among Theodore s 
correspondents were some women of high rank, includ 
ing two ex-empresses, who were strong adherents of 
his cause. One of these was the Empress Maria, widow 
of Constantine VI., who had, with her daughter 
Euphrosyne, adopted the monastic life. Whether or 
no Euphrosyne had taken all the vows required for a 
religious profession may be doubted. In any case, 
she ranked as a nun, and was secluded in the Princes 
Island. Michael was now a widower, and in spite 
of his attachment to his deceased wife, he listened 
to the suggestions of his courtiers and their wives 


that he should marry again. It is another sign of 
the popularity, among a considerable section of the 
people, of the great Isaurian dynasty, that Michael 
decided to brave the censures of the Church in order 
to unite to himself a lady of that house. The marriage 
of Michael and Euphrosyne was odious to the monastic 
party on three grounds. They objected to second 
marriages in general ; Euphrosyne was a nun ; and 
any connection with the sacrilegious Isaurian family 
seemed unholy. Theodore denounced the marriage 
in a catechetical oration. 1 He also wrote to the 
Empress Maria, 2 of whose cause he had in former days 
been the champion, and who had lately sent him some 
token of friendship or regard. Her imperial son-in- 
law seems to have invited her to Court, and the world 
expected her to accept the invitation. But Theodore 
maintained that a higher authority than that of the 
world ordered her to remain where she was, and against 
the promptings of natural affection he quoted the 
bitter texts: "Who is my mother and who are my 
brethren ? " and " He that hateth not his ... daughter 
for my sake is not worthy of me." It is not clear 
whether Theodore meant that Maria s monastic vows 
compelled her to remain in her place of seclusion, 
or whether he simply intended to warn her against 
incurring the temptations of a misbelieving Court. 
Apparently Maria did not go, as another letter seems 
to congratulate her on having resisted the temptation. 3 
But Euphrosyne, if we judge from subsequent events, 
was more inclined to the belief of her mother than to 

1 No. 74. This may have been delivered (i) orally to the monks who 
had come to live under him at Crescentius or elsewhere ; (2) by letter, as 
was the case with many of his Gatecheses ; or (3) orally at Studium, during 
the insurrection of Thomas (see below). 

2 ii. 181. 3 Cozza-Luzi collection, 148. 


that of her father s family. At least the monastic 
houses with which she was associated seem to have 
been orthodox. We have a letter written by Theodore 
to the canonesses of Princes Island 1 in which he 
congratulates them on their purity of life and faith, 
though he warns against temptations. And the monas 
tery of Gastrise, said to be that of (or founded 
by) Euphrosyne herself, 2 and to which she retired in 
later life, was situated close to Studium itself. It was 
also very near the abode of a lady who worked a good 
deal in the cause of the images, Theoctista, mother-in- 
law of the Emperor Theophilus. Her name, being also 
that of Theodore s mother, might suggest kinship, and 
this suggestion is made more probable by the statement 
of a chronicler 3 that the place for the monastery had 
been bought from the patrician Nicetas, who is ad 
dressed as a kinsman in one of Theodore s letters. 4 
Furthermore, we have another imperial lady closely con 
nected with Princes Island and with the island of Prota, 
also a stronghold of the orthodox, who was a corre 
spondent of Theodore. The wife of the Emperor Leo, 
Theodosia, is said by the chroniclers to have urged 
on her husband the postponement of Michael s execu 
tion till after Christmas Day, an act which indirectly 
led to Leo s murder. There is, of course, no reason 
to suppose from this fact that she was in any way 
cognisant of the conspiracy, and the contrary would 
seem to be proved by her enforced retirement after 
wards, when she was sent to Princeps, her sons to 
Prota. 5 According to a story current among the 
orthodox, one of these sons, named Constantine, but 

Lib. \\. 125. Is the dux mentioned Maria herself ? 
2 See George Hamartolus, p. 790. 3 Theoph. Contin. p. 70. 

4 Lib. i. 27. 6 Symeon Magister, p. 619. 


now renamed Basil, became afflicted with dumbness 
in consequence of the cruel mutilation perpetrated, 
in Byzantine fashion, on all the sons of Leo. Basil, 
however, thought of calling in the aid of Gregory 
Nazianzen (the reason why this father was selected 
is not told), and immediately recovered his speech, 
and became a devout venerator of the icons. The 
story would not be worth relating if it were not that 
we have a letter written by Theodore l to the Empress 
Theodosia and her son Basil. The first part of it 
consists of congratulations on their having come over 
to the side of the truth. The second is a little 
ambiguous. The Emperor had assigned to them the 
Island of Chalcita, whence the monks and brethren 
were to be ejected. Theodore had felt distressed at 
the tidings, but had lately been partially reassured, 
on hearing that whatever was being done, was en 
tirely by order of the Emperor. He requests the 
ex-Empress, however, and her son, to lessen as much 
as possible the sufferings of the exiles. 

From these various facts we learn that Theodore had 
many adherents, both men and women, in the regions 
adjacent to the city. Before long, however, circum 
stances led to an unexpected recall into the city itself, 
and probably, for a time at least, to a temporary re- 
establishment of Theodore in his authority at Studium. 

These circumstances were the disturbances con 
nected with a serious revolt, which soon grew to 
alarming dimensions, and spread distress and insecurity 
throughout the Eastern provinces. The leader, Thomas, 
is an ambiguous figure. 2 By some he was identified 

1 Lib. ii. 204. 

2 Even the Continuator of Theophanes is puzzled about him, and gives 
two accounts of his origin. 


and this is the view commonly accepted with the 
general of the same name who shared in the revolt of 
Bardanes and was afterwards promoted by Leo the 
Armenian. According to others, he was a Slav of 
obscure birth who had for a time served under the 
Saracens. He succeeded in gaining a party among the 
desperate and discontented, and is said to have actually 
posed as the unhappy Emperor Constantine VI., asserted 
to have survived his misfortunes. This pretension is 
inconsistent with the identity of Thomas the rebel and 
Thomas the general of Leo. One would have thought 
that such a claim could have been shattered at one 
blow by a refusal on the part of Euphrosyne (whether 
or no she were as yet Empress) to acknowledge him as 
her father. 1 Yet there have been no less strange and 
one might suppose easily refuted claims made by 
other historical pretenders. Thomas secured the co 
operation of a certain Gregory Pterotes, brother-in-law 
and friend of Leo V. By an arrangement with the 
Saracens, he was enabled to travel to Antioch and go 
through the rite of coronation at the hands of the 
Patriarch Jacob or Job. He gathered a large fleet 
which assembled at Lesbos, overran great part of 
Asia Minor, and proceeded to lay siege to Constanti 

Michael now showed a considerable amount of 
energy. He collected ships and munitions of war, put 
the city into a state of adequate defence, and with his 
son Theophilus, whom probably at this time he associ 
ated with himself as co-Emperor, maintained a vigorous 
and ultimately successful resistance to the besiegers. 

1 It may be observed, however, that the marriage with Euphrosyne 
may possibly have been a counter move on the part of Michael to the pre 
tensions of Thomas. 


The rebel army suffered from an inroad of the Bul 
garians though the Emperor had declined their help. 
The rebel fleet was scattered, and two attempts to 
storm the city alike failed. Thomas raised the siege, 
and was in turn besieged * by the imperial forces. He 
was shortly after betrayed to the Emperor and was, 
along with his son, put to death with disgrace and 

It was during or just before the siege of Constanti 
nople that Theodore and his monks were summoned 
into the city. The measure was one of caution on the 
part of the Emperor, who feared lest they might favour 
the insurgents. Thomas seems to have been trying to 
win over some of the party by professed devotion to 
the icons, but it does not seem probable that either he 
or the monks looked to each other for assistance. The 
orthodox chroniclers write of Thomas with detestation. 
It is certainly unlikely that any pretender who meant 
to oppose iconoclasm would try either to perpetuate 
the traditions of the Isaurian dynasty or to attach to 
himself the friends of the murdered Leo. The only 
trace of action on their part, during this crisis, seems 
to have been the successful negotiations, carried on by 
a Studite monk, for separating Gregory Pterotes from 
the cause which he had adopted. Our want of infor 
mation as to how Theodore passed the months of the 
siege, and as to the local warfare before and after, is 
probably not to be supplied. It would seem most 
probable that he was again in residence at Studium, 
delivering his fiery catechetical orations to his 
" fathers and brethren," and maintaining the strict 
ness of their rule, with the observance of iconodulic 

1 Either in Adrianople or in Arcadiapolis. 


It was probably at the end of the revolt that the 
Emperor made another effort towards a peaceful argu 
mentative conference. A letter has already been 
quoted, addressed to the Emperors Michael and Theo- 
philus, 1 in which, after a very respectful salutation, 
Theodore again refuses to discuss publicly with heretics, 
gives a confession of faith, goes through a good many 
of the arguments used against iconoclasm, and insists 
on the authority of (Ecumenical Councils. A letter to 
the same purport with regard to Conciliar authority 
was written by him to the Sacellarius Leo, in which he 
referred to the offers made three years ago, a fact 
which seems to prove that Michael had kept the same 
object in view during this time, but had been prevented 
by the rebellion from carrying it out. It seems that 
the Emperor had determined not to allow the cult of 
icons, or to listen to suggestions for the restoration of 
Nicephorus, till a definite arrangement had been made. 
Theodore retired first to the monastery of Crescentius, 
where he must have had fairly complete liberty, since 
he was able to see his friends and to write letters to 
his adherents. The country was still in a very un 
quiet state, 2 and he was soon compelled by an Arab 
inroad to leave Crescentius for the promontory of 
Acrita, where there was a religious house dedicated 
to St. Tryphon. It must have been about this time 
that he had the great sorrow of losing his brother, the 
Bishop of Thessalonica, who was afterwards buried at 

The Emperor Michael did not prove equal to the 
task of settling the disturbances which had been partly 

1 Lib. ii. 199, placed by Baronius in 823 A.D. 

* Lib. ii. Ep. 127, may perhaps be taken in connection with Vita A, 
119, though they do not entirely coincide. 


cause, partly effect, of the rebellion of Thomas. There 
were complaints on many hands of oppression and 
incapacity on the part of his government, and having 
little culture or tact, he failed to maintain a position of 
personal dignity in the eyes of his officers and of the 
public generally. The two great disasters that came 
upon the Empire soon after the suppression of Thomas 
are such as we cannot lay entirely to his charge, 
though they are part of the general failure of the 
Empire to defend the Provinces. These are the losses 
of Crete and of Sicily. Crete was overrun by a band 
of Saracens from Spain, whose leader burned his ships 
and forced his followers to make wives of the captive 
women and to settle as permanent colonists. The 
efforts made to recover the island ended in failure. 
The ancient Greek cities had to submit to Moslem rule, 
which remained in the island for nearly a hundred and 
forty years. The other loss to the Empire was still 
more serious, and it was permanent. A Syracusan 
citizen, said to have married a nun and to have raised 
an insurrection in order to escape the amputation of 
his nose, invited Arabs from Africa, who, after a con 
siderable period, possessed themselves of the whole 
island. The fighting was not all over during the 
lifetime either of Theodore or of Michael. One cannot 
help thinking that the religious controversies, with the 
exile of the monks and their supporters, helped to bring 
about the catastrophe. The refugees, who must have 
existed in considerable numbers in these parts, were 
not likely to welcome the Arabs, but their influence 
cannot have tended to the loyal support of the im 
perial government. 

But Michael showed himself sincerely desirous of 
internal peace, and he determined to look for it in 


the direction so often indicated by Theodore. He 
resolved, however, not to apply straight to the 
Pope, 1 but to approach the Papal See by means of the 
Emperor Lewis the Pious, with whom the relations 
of the Byzantine Court had continued, on the whole, 

The attitude towards the Papal power of Theodore, 
Michael, and Lewis respectively > is characteristic and 
instructive. To Theodore, as we have seen, always 
ready to recognise " the archetype in the image," the 
Pope is both legally and practically the wielder of 
supreme power. Distressed Christians may appeal to 
him for aid as the disciples called to Christ when the 
storm threatened their boat. To Michael he probably 
seemed an inconveniently powerful prelate, whose 
action was embarrassing in many ways, but who might 
be presumed to stand to the Emperor Lewis in much 
the same relation as the Patriarch of Constantinople to 
the Eastern Emperor. Probably neither party realised 
how the complicated relations of the Papal and the 
Frankish Court made any effectual intervention almost 

The name by which Lewis is commonly called 
the Pious suggests his habitual deference to the 
authority of the Church. But this by no means 
implies great respect for the Pope. Councils had been 
held in his dominions for the reform of monastic 
institutions and for the redress of ecclesiastical griev 
ances, but these measures had not been undertaken at 
Papal instigation. The act of Lewis which showed 

1 All the transactions are given at considerable length in Baronius, 
Annales Eccleswe, xiv., and in Mansi, Concilia, xiv. He also wrote to the 
Pope (see his letter to Lewis), but apparently only to complain of the 
encouragement given to fugitives. 


the most entire submission to the spiritual authority, 
the penance he underwent at Attigny for sins which 
modern historians commonly regard as no sins at all, 
whatever it was, was not a going to Canossa." 
Pope Paschal, at the moment when Theodore was 
entreating the Emperor of the East to reduce the 
Church under the papal authority, was labouring 
under the charge of having caused the murder of two 
dependents of the Emperor of the West, and was only 
cleared after a commission of inquiry and a solemn 
act of expurgation. His successor, Eugenius, was 
appointed under the direct influence of the Emperor s 
son Lothaire, but was not inclined to adopt a very 
decided policy. 

Michael s letter was a singular production. It 
abounded with commonplaces about the blessings of 
peace and unity. It repudiated any responsibility for 
the murder of his predecessor, and gave some account of 
the recent troubles with Thomas, which were urged in 
excuse of the Emperor s dilatoriness in opening negotia 
tions with Lewis. It passed on to make complaints of 
the Iconodules, who refused, it said, any conference and 
compromise, and were guilty of all manner of super 
stitious practices, such as mixing the scrapings of the 
images in the sacred wine, taking statues as sponsors 
for children (a practice, as we have seen, not disap 
proved by Theodore), replacing the cross by an icon, 
and so forth. He expresses his own orthodoxy and 
moderation, carefully stating that he acknowledges the 
six oecumenical councils thus excluding the second 
of Nicsea, and declares that he and those who have 
come to his conference have ordered the images not 
to be broken but placed beyond the reach of the 


worshippers hands and lips. He requests Lewis to 
use his influence with the Pope against the calumnies 
of the fugitives. 

The following events took a peculiar course. The 
ambassadors proceeded to Rome along with some 
messengers from Lewis. 1 The result was that per 
mission was granted to the French clergy to meet in 
Council or Conference and draw up a collection of 
the opinions of the Fathers on the subject of Images 
and Image-worship. 

The Council, or, as it is more precisely called, the 
Collatio, which was summoned in consequence of this 
permission, sat in Paris in 825, and drew up several 
very lengthy documents. The main part of their work 
was, of course, the collection of Patristic authorities. 
We meet in it many of the stock quotations, but it 
is incomplete and bears some marks of haste. The 
general result is a decision in favour of the mean a re- 
assertion, so far as doctrine is concerned, of the decrees 
of Frankfort. A moderate reverence is to be paid to 
images, the use of which is primarily educational and 
commemorative. The opinion quoted which seems most 
entirely to represent the view of the Frankish Church, 
is one already cited that of Gregory the Great in his 
admonition to Serenus, Bishop of Marseilles : 2 " It is 
one thing to adore a picture, another to learn, through 
representation in a picture, what is worthy to be 
adored. For what the faithful who read receive from 
books is given to the simple in pictures ; since by them 

1 It seems possible that the only communication which Michael held 
with the Pope was through the letters from him conveyed by this joint 

2 St. Greg., Lib. xi. Ep. 1 3. 


the ignorant are instructed in their duty and in them 
the illiterate can read." 

The Council drew up a letter for Lewis to send to 
the Pope and even one for the Pope to send to 
Michael. Neither of these epistles ever arrived at its 
destination. But two French Bishops, Jeremy of 
Sens and Jonas of Orleans, were sent to Rome, with a 
long paper of instructions bidding them deal very 
diplomatically with the Pope, and endeavour to per 
suade him to join with the Emperor in sending a 
peace-making embassy to Michael. It certainly would 
have been inadvisable to state plainly before even the 
most imperially minded Pope the condemnation that 
the Collatio at Paris had pronounced against Pope 
Hadrian for disapproving the articles of Frankfort, 
Whether the fault lay with Jonas and Jeremy or with 
circumstances we cannot say. But the Pope did not 
send any legates, nor did any sent by the Emperor 
effect the kind of understanding desired. All dreams 
of a spiritual force proceeding from the West to calm 
the storms raging in the East, proved a mirage. 
Different indeed were the hopes of Theodore from 
those of the Fathers assembled at Paris, but both 
were alike illusory. 

There is but one passage in Theodore s corre 
spondence which seems to refer to this attempt at 
conciliation. In writing to the monk Nicetas 1 he 
acknowledges a book which has been sent to him 
setting forth the doctrine that pictorial representa 
tions are an indulgence to the imperfect. This view, 
substantially that of the Synod of Paris, is extremely 

1 Lib. ii. 171. 


repugnant to him. He objects to the division of the 
Church into the perfect and the imperfect (did he sus 
pect Manichseism here?), and quotes as a reductio 
ad absurdum the instruction which the great Basil 
professed to receive from pictures. Whether he knew 
anything more about Western opinion we cannot tell. 
It is not impossible that some of his friends who had 
taken up their abode in Italy may have used their 
efforts to keep Eugenius from accepting the part which 
had been assigned to him by the French clergy and 
their Emperor. 

The Frankish Church continued for some time to 
regard pictures and statues as educational aids. Some 
churchmen went the length of actual iconoclasm, 
especially the notorious heretic, Claudius of Turin. 
But there was no persecution. It seemed for the time 
as if diversity of view were more possible in the West 
than in the East. 

Meantime, where conscious effort failed, an appar 
ently unimportant circumstance connected with the 
negotiations helped ultimately and indirectly to bring 
the East nearer to the West. Among the gifts brought 
from Constantinople to the court of Lewis was a copy 
of the works of that prince of mystics, the pseudo- 
Dionysius the Areopagite. Lewis ordered that a 
translation should be made of them. The attempt 
failed, but the task was afterwards taken up by more 
competent hands. 1 There seems an irony of fate in 
the circumstance that the very same action which 
brought about a declaration of the most common- 
sense, unimaginative, one might almost say pseudo- 
rationalistic view of religious symbols, also brought 

1 See the Author s " Studies in John the Scot." 


into Western Europe one of the most abundant 
sources of high-soaring mysticism. For from Dionysius 
arose the fountain that helped to fructify the whole 
spiritual field of mediseval thought, that nourished 
the philosophy of Scotus and even of Aquinas, 
the art of Botticelli, and the poetical imagery of 


THE events narrated in the last chapter bring us near 
to the close of Theodore s varied and strenuous life. 
But before we come to the final scenes, we may take 
a glance at a part of that life which is not confined 
within any limited period at his epistolary intercourse 
of a more private nature than the letters already cited 
in connection with doctrinal controversies and official 
action. Not that in his case the public and private 
can always be kept quite distinct. Some of his most 
important declarations as to matters of principle were 
made to his near kinsfolk or intimate friends to his 
uncle Plato, his brother Joseph, his spiritual " sons " 
Naucratius, Ignatius, and the others. And in his 
most private letters, his desires and his warnings often 
fall into the forms with which we have become familiar 
in his definitely theological works, just because these 
forms were a part of his perpetual mental; environment. 
Thus the relation of Image to Prototype is never far 
from his thought. Nevertheless, we can roughly 
separate his dogmatic or authoritative from his friendly 
and personal letters, and these in many cases tend to 
give us a different impression of the man from that 
which we should derive from his professional utterances 
alone. There is more elasticity and urbanity about 
them, more recognition of the necessary conditions of 

civilised life, above all more " saving common sense." 



The reader is at first struck by the vast number of 
letters that Theodore must have written, seeing that 
the many hundreds which have come down to us 
cannot be regarded as constituting the whole or even 
the greater part of his correspondence. A very large 
number are in answer to letters sent to him, most often 
of inquiry as to his opinion on difficult questions of 
discipline or of private conduct. A good many are ad 
dressed to bodies of men and women taken collectively. 
Several are expressions of thanks to men, or still 
oftener to women, for kindness shown during times 
of adversity. There is, as one would expect, a consi 
derable variety in style, according to the object of the 
letter and its recipient in each case. Unfortunately, 
the stilted ceremonialism of Byzantine life had in 
truded even into private relations, so that one must not 
expect to find here the grace and simplicity which have 
made the epistolary literature of the best periods such 
an abundant and trustworthy source for contemporary 
social history. The third person generally prevails, the 
writer being " my humility," " my unworthiness," or 
something of the kind, and the person addressed " your 
magnificence," " your piety/ and the like. Still, the 
man s real meaning generally succeeds in breaking 
through the crust. Occasionally the feeling of the 
writer is decidedly at variance with the respectful style 
of the epistle, as where an answer has to be sent to 
some tiresome person who has been asking unreason 
able questions. 1 Far more often, however, the tone of 
politeness and of kindliness is maintained throughout. 

Among the letters of the more ordinary and 

1 This is the way in which I would explain Lib. ii. 220, and 205. The 
former is to Machara, wife of a Spatharius, who seems to have wearied 
him with empty compliments. 



complimentary kind are a large number written to 
persons of high station to condole with them on the 
death of some near relative. There is one to Staura- 
cius 1 the Spatharius, probably (though not certainly) 
the prime minister and bad adviser of Irene, to comfort 
him on the loss of an infant son, his eldest-born. To 
Leo, the Guardian of Orphans, he writes to express 
sympathy on the death of a child, three years old, the 
third child the father had lost. 2 This letter is written 
in what seems a simple and natural way, and would 
lead us to suppose that Theodore had a soft place in 
his heart for children, and that he was not very 
emphatic on the doctrine of original sin : " For you this 
is sad, exceedingly sad ; but by no means so for those 
that have been taken, since, unspotted and undefiled by 
sins, owing to their youth, they have departed from 
things here to the blessed and painless life, where in 
the bosom of Abraham they sing praises in chorus 
with holy infants, and make melody with the children 
who follow Christ." 3 He urges him to keep the mean, 
showing natural grief, but maintaining self-control, and 
he hopes that his wife the Chartularia 4 may bear him 
another and less short-lived son. The tendency to opti 
mism as to the future of those who die young is shown 
more markedly in the case of a man who had died in 
vigorous youth, not in innocent childhood. In writing 
to the Turmachissa of Greece 5 (wife of the commander of 
turma ?) to comfort her on the loss of a son killed in 
a battle, he says: " He had put on Christ in baptism, 
embraced the orthodox faith, and had not yet become 

1 Lib. i. 1 8. 2 Lib. i. 29. 

3 The word is xpurro^/joH . I s he thinking of boys carrying the icons 
of Christ in a procession ? 

4 Was Leo chartulariw as well as orphonotrophus ? 
& Lib. ii. 145. 


filled with the pleasures of the world, so much as to 
touch them with his finger-tips, owing to his youth. 
Wherefore we may believe that where, in his human 
life, he may have erred and gone astray, he will obtain 
forgiveness through his unexpected and unjust death." 
In another letter l he condoles with a nobleman whose 
young son had, after receiving a good education, died in 
chastity and orthodoxy. In his experience among his 
"spiritual sons" of frequent lapses and belied hopes, 
he may well have felt that whom the gods love die 
young. His letters of condolence often insist, in a com- 
monsense way, on the duty of the bereaved to temper 
their affliction by devoted attention to those whom 
the deceased has left behind ; at the same time he held 
that spiritually the living can help the dead. The high 
value that he sets on conjugal and domestic life 2 would 
be striking if we were not familiar with his dual 
standard of life, for those in the world and those out 
of it. The ordinary life of human society, even Court 
life, afforded scope, in his eyes, for the attainment of 
a high stage of Christian virtue, but those who had 
renounced the world were bound to aim higher, seeing 
that they were free from many temptations, and had 
received a divine call. 

This view is strongly expressed in two letters to 
devout laymen, and in one to a lady who wished to 
leave the world but had not obtained her husband s 
consent. To Marianus the Spatharius he writes, 
after designating the chief vices to be shunned and 
virtues to be sought : " These and suchlike things per 
tain to the true Christian. Do not consider, my Lord, 
that what I have said only applies to the monk, and 

1 Lib. ii. 54 ; cf. ii. 145. 
2 See especially ii. 176, 186 and 188. 


does not pertain equally to the laity at large (even 
though these things are most strictly enjoined on 
monks) ; with the exception of celibacy and poverty, 
in respect of which things those in the world are not 
condemned. But even with regard to these, there are 
times for abstinence and rules for self-denial." l And 
to Theodore the Hospitalarius : 2 "The true Christian 
is nothing else but a copy and impression of Christ, 
and ought to stand to Him as the branches to the vine 
and the members to the head." After speaking of 
reciprocal duties of masters and slaves, husbands and 
wives, parents and children, he continues : " Here we 
have slavery and marriage ; in the world to come both 
will cease, and all will be one, as are the angels." To 
Albeneca, the wife of the Protospatharius : 3 " It is a 
great thing, Lady, that you desire, and one hard to 
accomplish ; . . . since you cannot easily be severed, 
after God has joined you together." She should tell 
her husband of her wish, and set forth the superiority 
of the monastic life. If he will consent, well and good. 
If not, she should remain with him, not vexing him 
with complaints, but winning him by her devout life. 
This lady seems to have had grown-up children, so that 
there was not any question of deserting a young family, 
but her high position made retirement difficult. 
Theodore told her that she must seek salvation in her 
married life, and hope that the way would be smoothed 
for her to something higher. 

A vigorous exhortation to duty in lay and official 
life is to be found in a letter he wrote to a certain 
Demetrius the Consul, 4 on his appointment to an im 
portant command involving chances of war. But there 

1 Lib. ii. 117. * Lib. ii. 122. 

a Lib. ii. 51. 4 Lib. ii. 148. 


is a touch of stern asceticism in his admonitions, since, 
along with his injunctions to do justice, relieve the 
oppressed, and refuse gifts, comes the prohibition of 
laughter : " For they that laugh now shall mourn and 
weep hereafter." 

Both men and women were accustomed to ask 
Theodore s advice on questions of casuistry, as well as 
on spiritual life and discipline. Thus he is called upon l 
by one of his " sons " to decide the old and knotty 
question whether it is ever justifiable to tell a lie. His 
answer is in the negative, but with a proviso that re 
minds us of the adage on "treason never successful"; 
if you tell a lie to save a brother or sister from de 
struction, and add, sotto voce, words which may give a 
true meaning, you have not lied. But this expedient 
is not to be used in order merely to avoid inconvenience 
to oneself. The reasoning is hardly cogent, as in 
arguing points of ethics Theodore has regard to authori 
ties rather than to principles, but the result seems to 
be consistent with common-sense. In another letter 2 
he protests against the diversion to the use of men of 
a religious house originally designed for women. In 
another 3 he condemns the intention of a father who 
had dedicated his elder daughter to the religious life, 
but on obtaining an eligible offer of marriage for her, 
was thinking of accepting it and devoting a younger 
daughter in her place. It is plain that such lax trans 
ference of vows would destroy altogether their binding 
character. It is gratifying to find a letter protesting 
against the cruelty of boycotting the family of a 

1 Lib. ii. 39. 

2 Lib. ii. 192. This is one of the letters to the Patrician Irene, and the 
monastery had been presided over by her daughter, and devoted to her 

3 Lib. ii. 172. 


suicide 1 and another addressed to an ecclesiastical 
dignitary, against capital or any corporal punish 
ment of heretics. 2 Theodore s arguments would here 
seem to lead to a larger toleration than probably he 
would have wished to accord. He quotes the strik 
ing passage from a letter of pseudo-Dionysius in which 
the monk who is impatient for the destruction of the 
wicked is reproved by Christ, ready to undergo all His 
sufferings again for the sake of sinners. Theodore 
declares himself willing to lose his head rather than 
consent to the physical chastisement of heretics. 

Among the letters of spiritual advice is one to a 
nun named Anna, on the subject of prayer. 3 This 
lady, to whom several letters are addressed, had 
ministered to Theodore s wants with motherly care. 
In answer to her inquiries, he bids her not to grieve 
that physical infirmity prevents her from fasting and 
labour, for a sufficient humility can make up for de 
ficiency of abstinence. He bids her contemplate the 
goodness of God to her till she is moved to com 
punction : " whence comes illumination of the heart, 
delight in the spirit, a strong desire after God. When 
this takes possession of the heart, all that is evil flees 
away." In making confession, she is to call to mind 
all her sins, but not to dwell on them in a way that 
might be hurtful to the mind. The invocation to the 
Virgin, angels, and saints, comes last of the acts of 
prayer. " These things seem to me to comprehend 
what is of power in prayer. And though some may 
pray in certain words, and others in others, and even 
the same person may not always use the same words, 
yet the same power seems to me to be necessary for 

1 Lib. ii. 153. 2 Lib. ii. 155. To Theophilus of Ephesus. 

3 Lib. i." 4 2. 


all." There is nothing mechanical here, nor is there 
any mention of icons, or other material helps to de 
votion. In a letter to another lady, 1 who had asked 
how often she ought to communicate, he left the 
decision to her own discretion. He allowed no 
choice, however, as to the necessity of receiving the 
communion from an orthodox priest only. 

Another lady, the wife of a Candidatus, 2 some high 
military official, was suffering from religious depression, 
from "a certain fear and trembling in the soul without 
any cause." Theodore counsels her to regard this 
infirmity as contemptible, and not able to work her 
real harm. She should strengthen herself against it 
by falling back on her profession and hopes as a 
Christian, remembering the words : " Thou shalt not 
be afraid of the arrow that flieth by day, nor of the 
terror that walketh by night," and, " if God be for 
us, who can be against us." She is to be of good 
cheer, pray and read, and never give way to lassitude. 

There are a good many letters to heads, and 
collectively to members, of various religious com 
munities. Among them are several addressed to an 
abbess named Euphrosyne (not, of course, to be con 
fused with the Empress), for whom he seems to have 
felt something like paternal affection. Her mother, 
Irene, 3 was an Armenian by birth, whose husband 
had held a governorship, first in Armenia, then in 
Greece. After his death, she had adopted the monastic 

1 Lib. ii. 220. 

2 Lib. ii. 195. Eudocice Candidatissce the same title as that given to 
Casia. (See note at end of this chapter.) 

3 Lib. ii. 113. I am inclined to think she was not the same as 
Irene the Patrician to whom several letters are addressed. The tone 
in which he speaks of her makes it improbable (though not impossible) 
that she had " lapsed " and repented. It was, however, probably to her 
as abbess that Lib. ii. 203 was written. 


life, and became an eminent ruler of a monastery in 
Constantinople. Her daughter Euphrosyne was asso 
ciated with her, and one of Theodore s letters was 
written jointly to them as his sisters. 1 He had not 
known them in their earlier life, but a strong friend 
ship had been formed between him and them, and when 
Irene died, she asked Theodore to take her daughter 
under his especial care, a charge which he carried out 
with great zeal. 2 

The first letter that Theodore wrote to Euphrosyne 
after the death of her mother consisted mostly of a 
panegyric on the deceased, intended certainly for 
others besides the recipient. Soon after, in answer 
to a request from herself, he wrote again on the sub 
ject of her bereavement, 3 but chiefly with regard to 
the duties of abbess which had now devolved upon 
her. Among other pieces of advice, he exhorts her 
not to trouble herself too much with what is done in 
this or that other monastery. It is by our own law 
that we should test ourselves, not by the practice of 
our neighbours. He advises her to find a coadjutrix 
to relieve her of some of her responsibilities. He has 
written unreservedly to her and her mother, he says, 
as if they were really his mother and sister by physical 
kinship. They have one Father, one household, and 
one inheritance, and the love which binds them to 
gether has the sanction of Christ. In another letter, 4 
he bids her try to know all her nuns individually, 
with their several tastes, capacities, and temptations, 
that she may be able to deal wisely with each one. 

1 Lib. ii. 104. 

2 Theodore also wrote two graceful epitaphs on Irene. See his Iambi, 
117, 118. 

8 Lib. ii. 115. 4 Lib. ii. n8. 


He seems to have found her inclined to regard the 
cares of office as a hindrance to the attainment of 
spiritual excellence, since he has, in another letter, 1 
to insist that the care of the Sisters is a help, rather 
than a hindrance, to her progress. He dwells 2 in a 
way that modern taste might find morbid, on the 
high vocation of nuns as "brides of Christ," and our 
present standard would not allow a high place to 
the virtue of tearfulness. 3 But high-strung emotion 
seems to him the only safeguard against the tendency 
to become slack. Theodore seems to have derived 
real satisfaction from his intercourse with Euphrosyne, 
since he was able to congratulate her on the good order 
that prevailed in her monastery, which had become 
an " eye of Byzantium," with a high reputation for 
piety, hospitality, and general harmony. One definite 
point of discipline is referred by her to him. 4 A nun 
has tired of the rule and wishes to leave. Theodore 
is quite clear in his answer, for which he cites the 
authority of Basil. A nun may be allowed to depart 
if it is to take the oversight of another community, 
or the Abbess may allow, at times, a change likely 
to prove beneficial. But an impatient desire to 
throw off the yoke is never to be gratified. The term 
Mother, which Theodore often applies to Euphrosyne, 
precludes the idea of her being a young woman. But 
in addressing her, he takes the tone of a father or an 
elder brother. She is to be the living image (icon) 
of her Mother, whose name suggested peace, and in 
whose place he stands to exhort and encourage her 
in the ways of peace and holiness. 

Another lady who received encouragement from 

1 Lib. ii. 134. 2 Lib. ii. 150. 

3 Lib. ii. 177. * Lib. ii. 196. 


Theodore in the career on which she had entered was 
Casia, or Icasia, the poetess. 1 This lady, who became 
an eminent and prolific writer of religious and other 
poetry, is also the heroine of a strangely romantic 
story. Some chroniclers relate that the Empress 
Euphrosyne, seeking a bride for the Emperor 
Theophilus (her step-son) called together a number 
of maidens of good family, and bade the Emperor 
give a golden apple to the one he preferred. 
Theophilus was attracted by the vivacious appearance 
of Casia, and to test her, made the somewhat uncouth 
statement : " By woman came evil into the world." 
" And by woman," replied Casia, " came deliverance 
from evil." But her readiness in speech seemed 
to betoken a want of modesty, and the apple was 
given to another maiden, Theodora. Casia had lost 
her opportunity. She entered the monastic life, and 
attained a literary celebrity which she might not have 
obtained in the enervating atmosphere of a Court. 
So runs the story, but the letter from Theodore 
would seem to show that she had aspired to a religious 
life from her early youth. In any case it is interest 
ing to find that she belonged to the circle of those 
opposed to the religious policy of the Emperors, and 
that, as her writings might lead us to suppose, she 
felt the powerful influence of Studium and its abbot. 
More than one letter is addressed to a person of her 
name, but the identity is doubtful. 1 

The letters on questions of Christian doctrine are 
mostly concerned with the controversy which filled his 
whole life as to images and prototypes, in relation to 
the dogma of the Two Natures. There is one on 

1 See note at end of this chapter. 


a subject which belongs to the regions rather of 
mysticism than of dogmatism, but which the dogmatic 
spirit of the age brought within the area of authority : 
the hope of final restitution. 1 Theodore had been 
asked by his " son " Gregory to enlarge what he had 
said in some previous communication suggested by 
certain statements of the Bishop of Chalcedon. He 
follows Maximus and other Greek Fathers in acknow 
ledging three kinds of future restoration : of each 
individual, according to his merits ; of the whole 
physical creation, which is to be made incorruptible 
and immortal ; and of the whole moral creation, whence 
sin is to be made to disappear, as the soul of man 
returns to the Infinite God. For sin has no real 
existence, since it is not a creature of God, and in 
the fulness of time it will perish, and he who has 
committed sin will be " saved as by fire." This 
statement would seem to give a far more optimistic 
view of the universe than is found in Theodore s works 
generally, but he seems to ward off dangerous con 
sequences by his anxiety to assert that this is not the 
doctrine of the arch-heretic Origen, and to avoid press 
ing the words even of the authorities he accepts to 
their natural conclusions. 

Some of Theodore s last efforts were devoted to 
the reclamation of a hermit named Theoctistus, 2 who 
seems to have taken up various heretical doctrines, but 
to have abandoned them in consequence of Theodore s 
persuasions. Both by letter and by personal inter 
course, Theodore was active to the last. The last 
months of his life were spent among his followers and 
friends, who flocked to Acritas from all quarters. It 

1 Lib. ii. 1 60. 2 Lib. ii. 116, 138, 166. 


might seem that where he was, there was Studium, 
though the actual monastery was no longer his dwelling- 

Theodore was now sixty-seven years old, but must 
have seemed much older, as his health had been broken 
by his anxieties and labours. More than once before, 
the end had seemed near, and after the last illness had 
taken hold of him, he had various rallies which enabled 
him to give his final injunctions to his monks. When 
physically incapable of addressing them, he wrote an 
address to be read to them. Until the very last, he al 
lowed himself the minimum of relaxation from monastic 
discipline. He drew up (if he had not done so earlier) 
what is called his Testament. 1 He begins this docu 
ment with an elaborate confession of faith and goes on 
to exhort his successor and the monks as to their 
mutual obligations and common objects. The chief 
points of the rule are recapitulated, especially as to 
poverty and seclusion. Finally he encourages them 
with the hope of the final reward of constancy, asks 
for their prayers, and promises to intercede for them 
after his departure. He had spoken much of the 
affairs of the community to Naucratius, 2 then acting as 
steward, afterwards, doubtless according to secret in 
structions left by Theodore, appointed his successor as 
abbot. When Naucratius asked about those monks 
who were under punishment or censure, he replied 
" God will be gracious to them all." He was nob free 
from the terrors of the unseen, but he was full of 
thought for those he was leaving He sent a respectful 

1 In Migne, p. 1814. 

2 Naucratius wrote an account of his death and funeral and sent it 
round as an Encyclical. It is published at the end of Theodore s works 
in Migne. 



message to the Patriarch, and greetings to various 
friends, and received each monk into his cell for a 
final benediction. He received the Eucharist, and was 
" anointed according to custom" on Sunday, November 
n, 826, and about noon, feeling his strength fail, he 
bade them light candles and sing the hundred and 
nineteenth psalm, which seems to have been in use at 
funerals. As the words were being chanted : "I will 
never forget thy commandments, for with them hast 
thou quickened me," he passed away. 

He was borne from the peninsula to the Island of 
Princeps in the midst of a storm, 1 and buried in the 
presence of a great concourse of people, many of whom 
had brought costly gifts of candles, wrappings, and 
spices. But even in death his bones were to have no 
lasting rest. Eighteen years later, when the cause for 
which he had so greatly suffered had become trium 
phant, his body was translated to Studium, to lie with 
that of his uncle, Plato, and of his brother, Joseph of 
Thessalonica, both of whom had fought with him and 
suffered with him, and might now seem, though late, to 
triumph with him, as they rested together in the home 
which had long been the centre of their labours and 
affections, but never till the last their permanent 

An adequate impression of Theodore s mind and of 
his achievements cannot be obtained without further 
study of his work, actual and posthumous, in various 
fields. But here we may pause for a moment to con 
sider his personal character as it has shown itself to 
us in his labours, his exhortations, and his intercourse 

1 So Vita A and Vita B. Naucratius, in his Encyclical, only says 
that he was taken to the place where he had written books and served the 
Lord, and does not mention any boats. 


with followers and friends. Perhaps the verdict of 
some readers will be : " A noble character, if only it 
had not been spoiled by religious controversy ! " But 
Theodore himself would have had no satisfaction in 
such approbation, since he identified himself with the 
causes which he felt bound to maintain. And it seems 
probable that had there been no iconoclastic controversy 
raging in his time, he would still have been on the 
side of the opposition to current policy or doctrine. 
He was one of the men whose intense feeling of right 
and wrong has led them to attribute grave moral 
importance to matters which to most people seem 
practically indifferent. Thus he became not only the 
champion of great causes, but the leader of dissension 
where modern opinion would see no occasion for a 
breach of the peace. All will acknowledge that the 
question of the Emperor Constantine s divorce and 
remarriage was a moral one, and that the monks who 
opposed it did so in the interests of domestic purity 
against lawless despotism. But when we come to the 
schism caused by the rehabilitation of the wretched 
Joseph, who was, after all, but a cat s paw of Tarasius, 
the atmosphere seems to be charged with the venom 
of petty personalities. Similarly the opposition to 
Nicephorus when he was first appointed Patriarch seems 
hardly warrantable, even if based on legality, since the 
irregularity was not unusual, and Nicephorus after 
wards seemed to Theodore a good man for the post. 
And in respect of the great conflict that against 
iconoclasm even those who may consider, after study 
ing his arguments, that he had a good cause, may feel 
irritated at his obstinate rejection of every chance of 
compromise. Theodore was essentially of a combative 
nature, and one to whom every conflict was a duel 


between good and evil. Perhaps we may best express 
his essential character by the word Puritan. He had 
the austerity of manners, the contempt for worldly 
pleasures, the severity towards both himself and others, 
the absolute indifference to any consideration at pos 
sible variance with religious principles, which English 
people associate with the word Puritanism. It may 
seem paradoxical to apply the word to a man who 
devoted his life to the maintenance, in religious wor 
ship, of institutions which English Puritanism branded 
as idolatrous. But after all, Theodore was not a devotee 
of sacred art. He does not himself seem to have used 
the icons much as helps to devotion. He scouts the 
idea of their value to the weaker brethren. He only 
upholds them because certain doctrines to which he 
attached great value seemed to stand or to fall with 
them. Far from fostering the impulses of free imagina 
tion in religious symbolism, he discouraged the pictorial 
representation of the virtues, or any unauthorised flights 
of the religious fancy. In giving spiritual advice on 
prayer, he thinks of the soul and mind of the person, 
not of any surrounding objects. 

Thus Theodore had both the noble and the less noble 
characteristics of the Puritan. He was courageous in 
meeting dangers and in reproving wickedness in high 
places. He was willing to undergo great personal 
hardships and risks for any cause even indirectly con 
nected with the principal ones at stake. He was loyal 
to his friends, and had the solicitude of a father in 
Christ for the souls of those committed to his care. 
But he was a party man whom partial views had 
blinded to the better side of his adversaries and the 
weaknesses of some of his partisans. He either could 
not or would not see the pride, perfidy, and heart- 


lessness of Irene. His rejoicings over the murder of 
Leo V. , even if they find a parallel in some utterances of 
Athanasius, are none the less revolting. His political 
horizon was bounded by practical limitations which 
prevented his one far-reaching idea the unity of 
Christendom from ever being, through his efforts, 
brought nearer to realisation. 

But with the faults which belong to his type of 
character, he had virtues peculiarly his own. He 
was from early years a leader of men. He had a 
wonderful power of attracting men and women and of 
inspiring them with his own enthusiasm. This power 
must have been in great part due to keen sympathies 
and a clear memory of the character and needs of each 
one of his friends. The advice which he gave to 
Euphrosyne, to maintain an intimate personal acquaint 
ance with the members of her community he followed 
himself on a wider field. And when there was no call 
for the exhibition of any particular bias, he manifested 
a high degree of practical good sense. 

Furthermore he was a scholar and a gentleman. 
We have seen that he had literary power, logical 
acumen, respect for learning, intellectual taste in his 
recreations. He was at home when writing or speaking 
to the most exalted persons in the state, and could vie 
with any courtier in writing complimentary addresses. 
And beyond all this, he was a man of strong personal 
affections. We have seen how his love for his mother, 
brother, uncle, and other relatives was strengthened 
rather than weakened by his religious zeal. Like most 
great men, he was capable of strong friendship, and 
unlike some, he was, while intensely suspicious of 
ordinary female attractions, strongly sensitive to the 
sympathy and approval of good women. 


I have called him a great man, and in using this 
epithet I am in company with most students, of very 
various schools, who have concerned themselves with 
his life and writings. Yet in two respects, one mental 
and the other religious, he could not rise above his 
age, and was doomed to a painful restraint. His mind 
knew nothing of intellectual liberty, his religion was 
out of sympathy with nature and with healthy human 
life. Admirably bold in withstanding the authority of 
the Emperor, he bowed his head beneath the yoke of 
an authority which seemed to suppress his thoughts 
if ever they rose towards a freedom or an originality 
which might be suggestive of some condemned heresy. 
Intensely conscious of the reality of the spiritual world, 
he despised as vanity all things pertaining to that 
natural world which, in the eyes of the loftiest 
thinkers, derives from the spiritual its whole signifi 
cance and beauty. He saw and felt the contrast 
between the real and the apparent, but, in his theory 
of the prototype and the image, he fell just short of 
reaching the standpoint from which he might have 
seen a divine harmony and glory shed on a world 
shrouded in confusion and gloom. Thus he ever 
walked under the yoke and in the shade. But he 
walked in confident hope of liberty and light in the 
world to come. 



THE friendly relations of Theodore with the poetess Casia, which 
seem to be indicated in the letter mentioned in the text, are much 
what we might expect, considering the great respect in which 
Theodore was held by many pious Byzantine ladies, and also the 
resemblance of their tastes and styles in religious poetry. At the 
same time, the subject presents several difficulties. Almost all 
that can be told about Casia is put together in a most interesting 
article, by Dr. Krumbacher, published in the Sitzungslerichte of 
the Bavarian Academy for 1897, which contains copious selections 
from her poems. It is rather surprising that the author, though 
in his Byzantinisclie Litleraturgeschiclde he does full justice to the 
character and talents of Theodore, and to the historical importance 
of his letters, seems to have passed over the letter to her in the 
Cozza-Luzi Collection, No. 270, which, if accepted as genuine, 
contributes some facts towards the further elucidation of her life 
and character. Dr. Krumbacher places the birth of Casia about 
the year 810, so that she would be about sixteen at the time of 
Theodore s death, and the letter would seem to come very 
naturally from an old and revered friend to a clever and literary 
young girl. The text is not throughout perfectly clear, but may 
be roughly translated as follows : 

" You have again favoured us, most honoured Madam, with 
writings so able and so learned as to fill us with admiration and 
with thankfulness to the Lord. Especially as all this wisdom is 
found in a quite youthful maiden 1 I cannot say that you have 
attained to the standard of the ancients, for we of the present 
time, both men and women, fall far short of our predecessors in, 
knowledge and in skill. But among those of to-day, you shine 
pre-eminent. Your speech is beautiful beyond all temporal 
beauty, and what is yet more excellent, your life accords with 
your speech, and in neither is there any uncertainty of foot. If 
indeed you desire in the present persecution to suffer for Christ,. 


you are not one who, after one chastisement, becomes impatient, 
and unable to support the burning passion of a good confession 
(in which may you ever be preserved). For you know assuredly 
that nothing is so fair or so joyful as to suffer for the truth and to 
abound in sufferings. Gold and silver, fame and luxury, all that 
seems to be desired of earthly goods, is in reality of no worth. 
It is but a flowing stream, a vision, a shadow. Your choice of 
the monastic life conies, you say, from the persecution. This is 
not strange to me r though it may seem strange. Why so 1 Each 
one judges of what is to come from what has gone before, and 
conversely. If there is smoke, there has been fire ; if there has 
been confession of Christ, the desire for monastic perfection will 
shine forth. You are happy in respect of both. But do not 
look for consecration from me, who am a sinner but from that 
hand the imposition of which will sanctify you. I would send 
many greetings to her who has brought you forth again into the 
light of truth, the Mother of your day. I have received her 
presents and yours, and consecrate them as a gift to the Lord 
by thanksgiving, praying for you both. Of a truth I am 
burdensome to you, but you shall be relieved from your spiritual 
burden by Him who taketh away the sin of the world/ 

From this letter we should gather ( i ) that the person addressed 
was a talented writer ; (2) that she was very young these two- 
points would make it highly probable that she was the poetess 
Casia ; (3) that she had a pious mother ; (4) that she or her 
family had suffered (not necessarily to any severe extent) for the 
cause of the icons, and had ministered to Theodore in his distress ; 
and (5) that she had already decided to enter the monastic life, 
This last point if the lady addressed is Casia the hymn-writer 
would militate against the veracity of the story of Theophilus and 
the golden apple, since the chroniclers who wrote that story 
certainly suppose that Casia was at that time (three or four years 
after the death of Theodore) unbound and eligible for marriage. 

The golden apple story is regarded by Dr. Krumbacher as 
undoubtedly historical. He considers that the other Byzantine 
apple story of the means by which Theodosius discovered the 
infidelity of Eudocia, is too dissimilar to be a duplicate. Perhaps 
it may seem odd that a critical apple should figure in the lives of 
the two most celebrated of women poets of Constantinople, And 
there certainly seems to be something legendary in the com 
plexion of the tale. It is not narrated by the best of the meagre* 


chroniclers (the Continuator of Theophanes), and Symeon Magister 
is hazy about Euphrosyne, whom he represents as the own mother 
of Theophilus. If, however, no more information were forth 
coming, it might hold its ground. The point to which I would 
here draw attention is that if Casia were a professed nun before 
the death of Theodore, the historical value of the story would 

Now, besides the letter translated above, we have two pur 
porting to be from Theodore to a lady called Casia the Candidatess. 1 
One of them was certainly addressed to a nun, though in this 
case the term Candidatess is puzzling, unless we consider that 
she was the widow of a military functionary, the Candidatus. 
This is not impossible, although Theodore has heard that she had 
followed a pious life from early youth. She has been kind to 
his spiritual son, Dorotheus, but while commending her bounty, 
Theodore warns her against enjoying male society. The apparent 
want of knowledge on his part of the circumstances of her youth 
makes it improbable that she is the same lady to whom the 
other letter was written. 

There is yet another letter to a Casia again called Candidatess, 
with a slight difference in spelling in the Migne Collection of 
Theodore s letters. This letter is in a different tone, and is so 
personal as to be very obscure. The lady seems to have accused 
him of listening to calumnies against her, and he asserts his 
rectitude with some haughtiness. The letter contains allusions 
to her sister and to a Strategus and his wife with whom they 
were apparently intimate. There is nothing to show whether 
the letter is to a married or a single woman, but the general 
impression that it leaves is that it was written to a lady in 

Thus it appears that there were presuming the authenticity 
of all three letters, which does not seem to have been questioned 
two, if not three persons named Casia or Cassia among Theodore s 
correspondents, and that only one of these was written to the 
poetess Casia ; that this letter goes some little way to discredit 
the story of the Golden Apple ; and that the acceptance of the 
second letter quoted as addressed to the poetess would demolish 
that story altogether. 

Perhaps the most natural supposition would be that the famous 

1 Cozza-Luzi, 142, and Migne, Lib. ii. 205. 


Casia had a relative probably an aunt of the same name and 
the same religious sympathies, who was also a correspondent of 
Theodore. The question arises : was Casia or Cassia a name 
frequently used at that time ? Dr. Krumbacher, after enumerat 
ing the many different ways in which the hymn-writer s name 
was written, concludes that it was the same as that of the 
daughter of Job, Keziah. Two variants of quite distinct etymology 
would be Icasia, the female form of a classical Greek name, 
Icasias, and Cassia, a Roman gentile name. If the name of the 
poetess were of the third etymology, we should expect to find it 
recurring among her kinsfolk. But to whatever conclusion 
Byzantine scholars may come, we seem to have at least one 
interesting fact before us : that Theodore knew and appreciated 
the budding powers of the most original and prolific of Byzantine 
literary women, and that she desired, but was not permitted, 
to receive from him authorisation for adopting that monastic 
life to which she aspired in girlhood but perhaps only entered 
when disappointed of a seat on the imperial throne. 



THOSE who have realised the great variety of inter 
ests which claimed Theodore s attention, the restless 
energy of his mind and character, and the depth and 
extent of his influence, during life and after death, 
will not be surprised to find traces of his activity in 
other spheres than those peculiarly his own. If he had 
never been made prominent in his relations with 
Church and State, or earned fame as a theological 
protagonist and a monastic reformer, he would still 
have been a person whose services to the art of writ 
ing and the art of versifying merited the attention of 
the palaeographer and the historian of literature. 

We have already seen how Theodore, and Abbot 
Plato before him, gave much time and labour to the 
copying of manuscripts. In his funeral oration on 
Plato, 1 Theodore remarks both the zeal which his 
uncle had shown in collecting books, to the great 
enrichment of "the monasteries under us" (i.e. 
Studium, Saccudio, and others on the islands or the 
coast opposite) and his beautiful writing as copyist. 
" What hand ever drew out the letters 2 more artistically 
than his, or who ever showed more diligent care in 
writing ? " Similarly Theodore s own hand was said 
by Naucratius to be elegant. 3 One of his biographers 4 

1 Or. xi. 16. 2 ffvpn<uoypd<t>r)<ret>. 3 wpatoypd<pos. * Vita A, 35. 



says " of which books there remain to us still some 
beautiful copies, written with his own hand." In one 
of his letters, he expresses the pleasure and comfort 
he finds in the work of writing. 1 Further, in all 
the accounts we have of Studium, both in the Lives 
of Theodore and in the collections of Rules, we see 
how important a place was held by calligraphy in the 
work of the monks. The regulations and penalties by 
which they were bound were decidedly severe. 2 A 
man who broke his pen in a fit of temper had to 
prostrate himself thirty times. Copyists of Studiurn 
had to mind their stops, and to keep their manu 
scripts clean, on pain of a hundred and thirty pros 

It is noticeable that the Studite monk particularly 
commended by his biographer for swiftness and ele 
gance in handwriting is that Nicolas 8 who was, as we 
have seen, the constant companion of Theodore in 
his longest and severest exile, and in all probability 
wrote many of his letters for him. As might be 
expected, the art was carried on in the monasteries 
which were founded from Studium, and looked to it 
as their head and fountain. Provision was made for 
calligraphy in the various rules of the Athos Monas 
teries which have come down to us. The witness of 
ancient records agrees with that of modern researchers 
who, in quite recent times, have reaped a rich harvest 
of manuscripts from the regions under Studite influence. 

1 Cozza-Luzi. 

2 Pcence Monas. 53-60. 

3 See his biography in Migne, 105. It is not a contemporary work, 
but the tradition here is probable. He was as swift in writing as Asahel 
(2. Sam. ii. 18) and &piara avp^oypa^dv. This last expression is almost 
the same used above about Plato. Some take it to refer to the long tails 
of the capital letters, but it may possibly indicate the cursive character 
of the hand. 


But there is a more definite point, and one of great 
interest, in the services rendered by Theodore to the 
art of writing, and consequently to the dissemination of 
learning. Just at his time, and, we cannot help suggest 
ing, greatly under his influence, a new form of writing 
was being elaborated, which in neatness, elegance, and 
practical usefulness, far exceeded that which had gone 
before. This was the Minuscule writing, which had 
gradually superseded the earlier uncial before the 
middle of the ninth century. It has been shown by 
various researchers that this character was not a new 
invention, but the adaptation to literary purposes of 
a style already in common use for informal writing. 1 
Most unfortunately for our present purpose, there are 
very few manuscripts of the late eighth and early 
ninth centuries that can be definitely dated. But if 
we consider together the immense amount of writing 
of an epistolary kind done by Theodore himself ; the 
great pains he devoted to the art of writing ; the 
number of books copied by his hand or under his 
direction and placed in the libraries of the Studite 
monasteries ; and above all, the exquisite specimens of 
minuscule writing which, in the two following centuries, 
were actually subscribed by monks from Studium or 
from Mount Athos, the probability that Theodore had 
great part in the elaboration of this hand amounts 
almost to a certainty. And our confidence is con- 

1 See Gardthausen : Griechische Paleoyraphie ; Batiffol : L Abbee de 
JKossano ; other authorities given by Marin : De Studio, chap. vii. The 
connection between the non-literary cursive and the early literary minuscule 
was clearly shown by Dr. Kenyon in his Sandars Lectures on Palaeography 
given in Cambridge in 1901. See also Maunde Thompson in "Greek and 
Latin Palaeography " in the International Scientific Series. A good speci 
men of Studite minuscule writing is given opposite p. 146, dating from 
the eleventh century. 


firmed by our knowledge that Plato acquired his hand 
writing in an office of the Imperial Treasury, and 
our strong suspicion that the same was the case with 
Theodore, though even if he did not, it was under his 
uncle s influence and guidance that he first set to work 
as a copyist. Now it was in writings from the Imperial 
Treasury that the regular minuscule hand first appears. 
In Sir E. Maunde Thompson s " Palaeography," l 
there is an extract from an imperial letter dated 756 
A.D., as to which that author remarks : "In this speci 
men of the writing of the Imperial Chancery, most 
carefully written, we have the prototype of the minus 
cule literary hand of the ninth century. Making 
allowance for the flourishes [Plato s " tails " ?] per 
missible in a cursive hand of this style, the letters 
are almost identical." 

Of the general character of the early minuscule 
writing, Sir E. Maunde Thompson writes 2 : "The 
writing of the period of the codices vetustissimi, of the 
ninth century and to the middle of the tenth century, 
as far as is shown by surviving examples, is very pure 
and exact. The letters are most symmetrically formed ; 
they are compact and upright, and have even a tendency 
to lean back to the left. Breathings are rectangular, 
in keeping with the careful and deliberate formation of 
the letters. In a word, the style being practically a 
new one for literary purposes, the scribes wrote it in 
their best form and kept strictly to the approved 
pattern." Further on 3 he says, " the writing of this 
first division of the minuscule literary hand is subject 
to so little change in its course that it is extremely 
difficult to place the undated MSS. in their proper 
order of time." 

1 Page 144. 2 Op. cit. p. 162. 3 Op. cit. p. 165. 


No doubt uncial writing was simultaneously prac 
tised at Studium, since that hand continued in use 
for some time in service books. But the minuscule 
was eminently better fitted for multiplying copies of 
treatises on topics of current interest, and for stocking 
the libraries of the ever multiplying monasteries in 
works of scriptural, patristic, and secular lore. It 
seems by no means impossible that in South Italy, 
whither a good many monks had fled before their 
persecutors, an impulse was given to calligraphy which 
came originally from Studium. But without venturing 
on any disputable ground, we may safely affirm that 
the work of the Studites, and pre-eminently of Theo 
dore himself, in developing a new style of writing, 
both useful and beautiful, and employing it in the 
multiplication and dissemination of books, accom 
plished a great work, the fruits of which we have 
not even now entirely gathered. 1 

An analogy may be suggested but not pressed 
into details between the changes then taking place 
in the art of versification and that of handwriting. 
Theodore and his immediate friends and followers 
seem in both to occupy a transition stage, and at 
least in the case of verse-writing to show skill in 
the old and also in the new method. 

We have already 2 mentioned the verses which 
Theodore wrote on the parts and the offices of his 
monastery. They are generally in iambic metre with 
a few elegiacs, and are on the whole decidedly grace 
ful and pleasing. As may be seen from a few rough 
translations appended to this chapter, while written 
in a light vein, they show all the intensity of Theo- 

1 Krumbacher, in his great work on Byzantine Literature, frequently 
notices the importance of Studium in the history of learning. 

2 Page 71. 


dore s nature, and his stern conceptions of life 
and duty. Thus his best wish for his dormitory is 
that it may not prove conducive to over-much sleep. 
Guests, however courteously received and entertained, 
are warned not to distract the monks with gossip about 
the outside world. Monks who walk abroad to see to 
the business of the monastery are enjoined to keep 
their eyes downcast and to return as soon as they can. 
Yet, as in the Catecheses, the ascetic tone is relieved 
by a strain of joyous activity, a sense of the dignity of 
the meanest labour, a certain hope of reward hereafter 
for all the toils of the present. 

Along with these verses specially written for 
Studium, we have a number of epigrams of different 
kinds : addresses to various saints and to various 
churches ; lines on the sacred images, especially on one 
votive piece of stuff with a picture on it ; the epitaph 
already cited on Irene the Abbess and some others ; l a 
sketch of the character of a recluse ; a friendly address 
to the place of his captivity ; a disciplinary charge 
to himself. Of Theodore as poet, Krumbacher says : 
" He not only fills a gap ; it was especially due to 
him that the art of Epigram, which in the dark days 
from the middle of the seventh to the end of the eighth 
century, had fallen into desuetude, was recalled to life, 
and by skilful application to things of present in 
terest, made worthy of continued existence." 2 The 
large number of manuscripts containing Theodore s 
epigrams shows their wide dissemination. 

But it was not by any work of a classical form, 
intended only for educated society, that Theodore s 

1 No. 1 1 5 is on Anna, apparently his correspondent to whom he wrote 
letters 42 and 54, who had, with her children, adopted the monastic life 
by consent of her husband ! By a curious error, it is addressed to his wife, 

2 Byz. Lit. p. 712. 


poetical achievements became the possession of his 
church and people. 

In the voluminous metrical liturgies of the Eastern 
Church there are a great number of sacred songs 
attributed to Theodore. 1 By the middle of the 
eighteenth century, Theodore s other works had been 
studied and admired by some learned Benedictine 
monks who felt puzzled and perhaps scandalised by 
these productions. They found it impossible to make 
them scan. A good deal of conscientious labour was 
wasted in their attempts. They had faith in Theodore s 
learning and they knew that he could write iambics 
and even hexameters. Why should he not have writ 
ten classical odes ? But these odes of his were not to 
be explained without a clue that the Benedictines did 
not possess. 

This clue was not discovered till more than a 
century later, when Cardinal Pitra, during what he 
regarded as a captivity among barbarians, a sojourn 
in North Eussia turning over the leaves of an ancient 
service book in his cell, and endeavouring to make out 
the significance of certain red marks, lit on the secret 
of the hirmus and troparia, which, when once re 
cognised, found ample confirmation in the expressions, 
hitherto but partially understood, of Byzantine gram 
marians. 2 

1 Of the two odes given in Migne s edition of Theodore s works, one, 
that on the restoration of the icons, can hardly be his. Cardinal Pitra 
has published a good many in his Analecta Sacra Spicilegio Solesmensi, 
torn i. Paris, 1876. A fine hymn on the Day of Judgment, taken from the 
Trisagion of the Greek Church, is fully translated in Neale s " Hymns of 
the Eastern Church." 

2 Cardinal Pitra described his discovery in D Hymnographie de VEglise 
Grecque, 1867. The whole subject is expanded and discussed with much 
lucidity by Ed. Bouvy : Etudes sur les origines du rythme tonique. See also 
Stevenson in Revue des questions historiques for October 1876. 


The fact is that the poetry of the Greek Church 
had, before Theodore s time, come to be measured, not 
by quantity, but by accent and by number of syllables. 
The manner in which the change came about is not a 
matter on which all are agreed, but the main cause is 
evident, that the differences between long and short 
sounds had ceased to be articulately conveyed in ordi 
nary speech, whereas the tonic accent had become as 
clear and predominant as among us now. Why this 
should have happened is a further question which may 
be left to the student of phonetics and of their history. 
The fact itself is undoubted. 

Here a natural question arises : how did it happen 
that as quantity declined and accent came to the fore, 
a new system was required rather than a modification 
of the old ? Why did not accent simply step into the 
place of quantity in regulating the order of words in the 
ancient measures ? We are familiar enough, in English, 
with hexameters based on accent, and when we read 
modern iambics, we hardly realise that originally 
iambics went by quantity. Why should not the Greeks 
have adopted a scheme of verse in which syllables of 
greater and less value succeeded one another according 
to ancient rules, but having that value determined by 
accent, not, as previously, by quantity ? 

The answer to this question is not easily to be 
found. It is to be observed, however, that to a certain 
extent, and in some kinds of poetry, the process above 
indicated was actually gone through. There was a 
long struggle between quantity and accent before 
they finally separated their respective fields. In 
Theodore s Iambi, to go no further for illustrations, 
we often find in place of a long syllable a short one 
with an accent. But in lyric poetry, or at least in 


that of the Church, the old metres were lost. Some 
investigators have here seen traces of the influence 
of Hebrew poetry on the early Church, but this 
influence is exceedingly problematic. Others have 
thought to find only a rhythmic prose, analogous to 
those Canticles from Holy Scripture which formed 
the earliest of church hymns. Others, again, have 
hoped against hope to find reminiscences of classical 
measures. The whole subject is bound up with that 
of church music, since it was the necessity of accom 
modating words to melody or melody to words that 
led to the new system. 

Now the discovery of Cardinal Pitra was briefly 
this : that generally speaking, in Greek hymns after 
the sixth century, we can discover a model verse, not 
necessarily at the beginning of each hymn, with a cer 
tain number of lines varying in length and number, and 
following this a series of verses which correspond with 
the model pretty exactly in the number of syllables 
in each line and in the positions of the accents. The 
model verse is the hirmus, those that follow are the 
troparia. This we perceive from the explanation, 
previously misunderstood, of Theodosius of Alex 
andria : "If one wishes to make a canon he must 
first melodise his hirmus, and then bring up the 
troparia, equal in syllables and alike in accents to 
the hirmus, and according to one scheme. 1 Of course, 
not all Greek hymns are canons. The canon, in 
fact, was a collection of hymns or odes, properly 

1 Perhaps the words are still wanting in perfect clearness, but this 
is a locus classicus, quoted by most of the writers referred to, and by 

Krumbacher (Byz. Lit. p. 695): Olov tdv TIS BeXr} Tro^o-cu Kavbva, TTpwrov M 
fj.f\i<rai rbv, elra. dwayayeiv TO, rpOTrdpta, i<roffv\\a.fiovvTa Kal QIAOTOVOVVTQ. 

T$ elpfj.(f, Kal rbv ffKo-jrbv awoa^ovra. Of course the analogy of classical 
strophe and antistrophe will suggest itself, but the differences are obvious. 


nine in number, corresponding to the nine Scripture 
canticles. 1 But to compose a canon you must make odes, 
and to make an ode you must choose a model from 
some accepted writer or make one for yourself. You 
may use considerable freedom in forming it, but when 
it is once formed, in all the succeeding verses you must 
closely follow your pattern. 

If we could apply the terminology and the general 
process to English psalmody, we might take as an 
example one of the paraphrasists of the twenty-third 
psalm. He took as his model the verse or stanza : 

" The Lord my shepherd is ; 
I shall be well supplied. 
Since he is mine and I am his 
What can I want beside ? " 

In the succeeding verses he was bound to follow the 
first, since each was bound to consist of: (i) a line 
of six syllables and three accents ; (2) a line exactly 
similar ; (3) a line of eight syllables and four accents ; 
and (4) a line like (i) and (2). Apart from any con 
sideration of rhyme (which, though not unknown, is 
not yet of any importance in Greek poetry), a choir 
would have to hear the whole four lines before 
knowing how the tune was to run. The four lines- 
would then constitute the hirmus and the succeeding 
verses would be troparia. The analogy is very im 
perfect, since in English psalmody the hirmi or models 
are comparatively few, whereas in Greek they were 

1 i.e. the two Songs of Moses, that of Hannah, of Habakku-k, of Isaiah, 
of Jonah, the two Songs of the Three Children ; and those of Zacharias 
and of the Virgin, taken together as one. See Introduction to Dr. Neale a 
" Hymns of the Eastern Church." It seems strange that one so well 
versed in Eastern hymnology should have apparently failed to- see the im 
portance of the scheme of accentuation, and have spoken of the language 
as " measured prose." 


many in number and various in form. One early 
hymn-writer, Romanus, who seems to have been a 
master of his craft, composed a large number, which 
were freely adopted by others. Thus we find an 
indication of the hirmus frequently recurring with 
metrical changes in the Greek liturgies, just as in 
English hymn-books there is sometimes given the name 
of the tune to which the hymn is to be sung. Romanus l 
doubtless exercised considerable influence over Theo 
dore, though Theodore was quite equal to the task of 
making new hirmi for himself, and often did so. 

The characteristics of the new form have varied 
greatly like most other forms of verse according to 
the powers of those who used it and the taste of 
those among whom it became popular. If dull and 
mechanical it may become empty and wearisome. If 
used to express great thoughts or powerful feelings, 
and manipulated by artists who know how to " build 
the lofty rhyme," it becomes both dignified and 
pathetic in the recurrence of its manifold series of 
similar yet varying sounds. 

In some modern Greek monasteries, travellers 
have heard liturgic odes which have confirmed Pitra s 
theory as to the essential character of Greek hymno- 
graphic rhythm. M. Edmond Bouvy 2 cites a hymn 
to the Virgin sung in the monasteries of Mount Athos 
in which the relation of troparia to hirmus is made 

1 For Romanus see Pitra s Analecta Sacra already quoted, which 
gives many specimens of his poems. See also Krumbacher, p. 663 et seq. 
Though he seems to have been an epoch-making writer, his date is un 
certain. He lived either under Anastasius I. (491-518) or Anastasius II. 
(713-716) more likely under the former. 

2 He also remarks that visitors from the West commonly find Greek 
services interminable from the simple reason that they never stay to the 


very clear, and he ironically observes that though 
a hymn in seventy verses all exactly alike is tedious 
even to a pious soul, it affords an excellent opportunity 
of ascertaining the laws of its metre. But generally 
the case is far less simple. No student may hope 
with Pitra s key to unlock all at once the elaborate 
doors of Byzantine metre. In the first place, though 
the principles of " isosyllabism " and "homotony" (if 
we may coin abstract terms from the expressions of 
Theodosius) hold good within limits, yet we cannot 
expect to find the accents always recurring with per 
fect regularity on corresponding syllables in every 
troparion. Then again the accents themselves are 
misleading, since we have to distinguish the tonic 
stress accent from that which was merely grammatical, 
and possibly by that time existed for the eye, not for 
the ear. Furthermore it may be necessary to have 
recourse to accents which are discerned by the ear 
and not marked for the eye, as in some polysyllabic 
words, which may have a secondary as well as the 
principal accent, the former only being written in. 1 
And to maintain the rule as to syllabic equality, we 
have to allow a good deal for the elision, diaeresis, 
or synseresis of vowel sounds. Then again, as we have 
said, the hirmus to which most of the troparia answer 
need not come at the very beginning of the ode. 
There may be a prelude or procemium, and in all ela 
borate Greek liturgies there are a number of verses 
intercalated which bear various names according to 
their position and purpose. The subject is one which 
requires special and close attention. All that is 
attempted here is to obtain some light on the kind 

1 I think it was the late William Morris who made " Canterbury- 
bell " scan -WWW-. An inferior versifier would have made it - w -w-. 



of measure and harmony which we are to expect in 
the Church hymns written by Theodore and the other 
Studites. For as we shall have to show later on 
Theodore was not the only hymn-writer of his monastery. 
His brother Joseph 1 practised the art, and probably 
there were others similarly employed in that genera 
tion, as there certainly were in those that come after. 

We have already said that one of the Church 
" canons," a series of nine odes purporting to be 
by Theodore, which is printed with his other works, 
is almost certainly not by him. It commemorates 
the Restoration of the Icons, and contains expres 
sions of exultation over John, Antony, and the other 
iconoclast bishops, which would, at any time in 
Theodore s life, have been highly premature. The 
other canon is on the Adoration of the Cross, but 
seems to have been composed for Easter. The poems 
collected by Cardinal Pitra 2 are generally in honour 
of various saints, but there is one of exceptional in 
terest to be sung at the burial of a monk. The ode 
consists of thirteen stanzas which (except the first, 
which is a prelude, apparently borrowed) contain each 
eight lines besides the refrain at the end : To a\\rj\ovia. 
Most of the lines are of eleven syllables and three 
accents, but the sixth is a long rolling one of four 
teen syllables and five accents. The form seems well 
adapted to convey the ideas, always powerful with 
Theodore, which the occasion calls forth : the tragedy 
of the sudden change ; the human cry after the de 
parted friend ; the longing desire for some communi 
cation from the unseen world ; the triumph of the 

1 But Joseph, Bishop of Thessalonica, is not Joseph the Hymn-writer 
par excellence, a Studite monk who came from Sicily. 
* In the volume i. of Analecta Sacra often cited. 


self-renouncing life ; the solemn warning, here put into 
the mouth of the dead monk himself, of the vain 
and transitory nature of all things mortal ; the final 
hope, not unmixed with fear. We have the spirit 
of the Catecheses clad in poetical garb. 

If we read Theodore s religious poems, paying at 
tention to the accents and trying to forget quantities, 
we become aware of a kind of melody that, if the 
words were suited to adequate music, might have an 
impressive, if somewhat monotonous effect. One feels 
that such melody might well have charmed the ears and 
the soul of Charlemagne, 1 as he listened to the music 
brought to his Court from far away. And one may be 
inclined to regret that at least one fruit of the Greek 
mind in its later days has been lost to posterity, 
or has at any rate failed to obtain due recognition 
from those whose lives are devoted to Hellenic studies. 
For though it is a product of what is in some respects 
an age of decay, it is instinct with vigorous life. 
Critics may differ as to whether Theodore s classical 
epigrams or his Church hymns are better as literature. 
Probably he bestowed equal care on both, and he 
may not have realised the difference between them. 
But the former were probably intelligible to few 
in fact, it probably needed a non-natural pronuncia 
tion to make them intelligible to anybody and the 
latter became so absorbed in the voice of the Church 
as to sound familiar in the ears of many who knew 
not whence they had come. 

The connection between controverted doctrine and 
popular hymnody seems to have been very close in 
early times. Arius had sought to make his views 

1 Page 133. 


acceptable to the Alexandrian boatmen by embodying 
them in attractive song. We have seen l how an 
addition to the Trisagion had once aroused dangerous 
tumults in Constantinople. Similarly it seemed natural 
that in the Iconoclastic Controversy Theodore had to 
refute the poems (as the phrase went) of his opponents, 
and employed his leisure in making acrostic verses 
against them. 2 And when the cause of orthodoxy 
triumphed, the hymns of the Studites acquired ascend 
ency. If a versifier were to be judged by his weakest 
performances, we might set Theodore down among 
the controversial poetasters of a feverish age. But if 
the power to utter words that touch the deepest veins 
of human nature and that express the never-ceasing 
laments and aspirations of man in dignified and 
melodious sound, belongs only to the real poet, then 
we may well give the name to Theodore, since his 
work, amid some hay and stubble, shows here and 
there pure gold. 

1 Page 69. 2 Migne, xcix. p. 437 seq. 



(In translating Theodore s Iambics, I have merely attempted 
to give a general notion of the meaning and character of the 
pieces through the medium of English blank-verse, the accepted 
equivalent for this classical measure. In dealing with the Church 
hymns, I have endeavoured to follow as far as possible the metre 
of the original as to accents and number of syllables. The result 
is necessarily very inadequate, owing partly to the poverty of the 
English language in natural dactyls and anapaests.) 


Be diligent, my child, and wait in fear 

On this thy task. Here is God s entrance-gate. 

Attend with caution, and with care reply. 

Repeat and utter only what is fit. 

Be silent on whate er might evil work 

To those within, without, our brethren here, 

And strangers there. Open and shut with care. 

Grant to the poor his boon. Or give good words. 

Thus when thou goest hence, thy meed is sure. 


Oh blessed task, to bear the sick man s load ! 
That work is thine, my child. Then labour well, 
In diligence and zeal to run thy course. 
When daylight dawns, stand thou by every couch, 

To minister to each with fitting words, 


And then to bring the timely gift of food, 
To each what suits him best, as reason bids ; 
Each one belongs to thee. Neglect him not, 
Thus shall thy service reap a rich reward, 
Light unapproachable, the joy of Heaven. 


A noble art is his who works the shoes, 

Tis like the Apostle s. Seek to emulate 

The zeal of Paul, who sewed the leather skins. 

Welcome the daily task appointed you 

As Christ s own workmen, thinking still of Him. 

Cut well the leather, follow well your art, 

Make old things new, and work the new aright, 

Throw nought away, and waste not by misuse, 

In negligence, if all is not the best ; 

Nor cut too close, but find the proper mean. 

Thus doing all things fitly, ye shall win 

The race, accomplishing the martyr s course. 


Thou who givest sleep, and ease from toil 
To those whom daylight calls to labour still, 
Grant Thou to me, Christ, Thou Word of God, 
Sleep light and gentle, swift to come and go, 
And pure from fancy visions profitless, 

But filled with dreams of all things fair and good. 

Then rouse me up, what time the clapper sounds, 

Alert and sober, fit for sacred song. 

Set well my feet to praise Thee while I go, 

From evil spirits keep my spirit free, 

And purify my tongue to harmony, 

To sing and magnify Thy glorious might ; 

That rising early after perfect rest 

1 may behold the light of Thy commands. 



(Scansion different probably an older verse adopted by Theodore.) 

Gone from things transitory, piously departed, 

He rests in peace with the righteous ones, 

O Christ, who art God, 

E en if as man he has sinned with us upon the earth, 

Thou who art sinless, lay not to his charge 

What he willingly did amiss 

And what unwillingly ; 

So prays the Mother who bore Thee. 

Thus may we join all our voices as we sing for him 

Our Alleluia. 

Troparion 1 l 

Passing strange is the sight and the mystery 

For he breathes not, my comrade of yesterday, 

And the voice that was speaking it speaketh not, 

And the eye that beheld, it beholdeth not. 

Each of his members is silenced. 

His decree hath God sent out against him as tis written, 

And no more will he come to his place of old, 

Where we mortals are singing and sounding the strain 

Our Alleluia. 

Troparion II 

As a son of the day thou art gone afar, 

But for us there are tears for the loss of thee, 

As we think of the graces adorning thee, 

All thy love, all thy zeal, all thy gentleness. 

We keep thy glories in our memory. 

On thy shoulders thy cross didst thou carry still in patience, 

And didst follow the Lord on thy earthly way, 

Wherefore come, and to God let us sound forth the strain, 

Our Alleluia. 

1 The Jiirmus is, for this hymn, borrowed from Romanus. 


Troparion III 

Tell me now, worthy friend, what I ask of thee, 

Tell me where thou dost dwell who art snatched away ? 

With what souls has thy lot been appointed thee ? 

Hast risen to the regions celestial ? 

Hast thou attained to the things thou hopedst for ? 

Hast thou found an abode in the shining light ? O tell me 

Where the choirs of the living make melody, 

As the shout of their triumph goes up to the Lord, 

Their Alleluia. 

Troparion IV 

For thy voice it was pleasant to hearken to, 
Thy converse was gentle and courteous, 
Thou wert brother beloved of the brotherhood, 
Loving good, hating evil, and pitiful ; 
The truth thou spokest in sincerity, 

With no craft in thy tongue to resist the Lord s command 

But on all men thy face looked in kindliness, 
And for this he will love thee who sings to the Lord 
His Alleluia. 

Troparion V 

Thou hast gone through thy conflict of holiness, 

Thou hast finished thy course in obedience, 

Though hast passed through the trenches, O valiant one, 

Of all lustful desire thou art conqueror, 

And to shame hast thou put the Evil One, 

And in meekness thy neck hast thou bowed beneath thy 


And excelled in thy humble obedience, 
And for this will he love thee who sings to the Lord 
His Alleluia. 

Troparion VI 

Yet we seem in the spirit to look on thee, 
And to see thee as still with us sojourning, 


When together we joined in our harmony, 

Working our God-given work in piety ; 

Work that delighted all our hearts to do ; 

And we fervently long for thee our sometime companion, 

But our wishes are vain, for we find thee not, 

With whom fain would we sing as we raise to the Lord 

Our Alleluia. 

Troparion VII 

For a dream is our life and a vanity, 

This thou knewest, for God had instructed thee, 

Thou hast left thy parents at his word to thee, 

And thy brethren and companions and family, 

So great was thy desire for the Lord himself, 

All the world and its glory didst thou esteem as nothing, 

And instead thou hast life for eternity, 

And for this he will love thee who sings to the Lord 

His Alleluia. 

Troparion VIII 

Yet thou seemest to speak to us hearkening, 

" my brothers attend to the word I say 

Tis the hour, come and fight while the strife is on, 

Now is the day, there is work to do 

Now ere the stadium is closed to you, 

beloved, give diligence Belial to conquer, 

That the glory from Christ may redound to you, 

And a song shall ye sing to the praise of the Lord, 

Your Alleluia. 

Troparion IX 

" how pleasant the life ye have chosen you ! 

how sweet tis to dwell in a brotherhood ! 

For the Saviour himself has commended it, 

When he spake by King David in psalmody. 

Rejoice then, brethren, in all joyfulness 

In obeying your shepherd and each one loving other, 

And your passions send far and spurn away, 

That your song may resound with the praises of God 

Your Alleluia. 


Troparion X 

" Yet a word would I say in farewell to you, 

O my brothers, no longer you look on me, 

And my voice never more shall be heard of you, 

Till the Judge gives his sentence concerning me. 

That day so terrible when we mortals 

Shall present ourselves trembling before the throne 


Whence each soul shall receive all its recompense, 
And the living shall sound forth the praises of God, 
Their Alleluia. 

Troparion XI 

" Great the terror and fear all surrounding you, 

Hasten then, wait not, zealously all of you, 

In obedience ever directing you, 

Let the law be your rule and accomplish it. 

For Satan lurketh like a lion hid, 

And he roars as he seeks for the prey of spirits living, 

By hardness with meekness rise victorious, 

That ye all may sound forth to the praise of the Lord 

Your Alleluia." 

Troparion Xll 

We have heard all the things thou hast said to us : 

Since to thee has the Ruler seemed pitiful, 

For us all do thou evermore supplicate, 

That receiving instruction we go our way, 

And fight and labour in all discipline, 

That our shepherd may bear his rule over us in wisdom 

And that God may give grace to us each and all, 

That we all may sound forth to the praise of the Lord 

Our Alleluia. 



Triodion, for Friday of Third Week in Lent 

Twas a skull the name had given 

To the place where they crucified thee, Christ, 

The Jews, their heads they wagged at thee 

In laughter and in contumely. 

Thou didst endure it, 

To deliver us all. 

On the Cross they wrote a title, 

And the tongues of the superscription three ; 

On Thee, one of the Trinity. 

And Thou must suffer, Pilate said, 

As thou wert willing, 

To deliver us, Christ. 

Of the Trinity in glory 

The triple light the faithful shall adore. 

As Light the Father worshipping, 

As Light the Son they glorify, 

As Light the Spirit 

They proclaim in their song. 

Part of a Canon 

Day of terror, I behold 

Now Thine appearance, glory unuttered, 

Fearfully I look for the judgment to come, 

Now Thou art enthroned 

Quick and dead will now be judged, 

Lord God who art omnipotent. 

When Thou comest, O my God, 

There will be thousands, there will be myriads, 

Princes of the Heavens in attendance on Thee ; 

And me wilt Thou summon. 

I must come before Thy face 

Christ in all my wretchedness. 


Come and take to thee, my soul, 

Take all the terror, think of the judgment, 

When we all shall see that the Lord is at hand, 

Lament in thy mourning ; 

Thus in purity be found, 

And bear the test appointed thee. 

Now the fear doth quell my soul 

Of fires of Hell that never are quenched, 

Worm that doth not die, and the gnashing of teeth. 

But save and deliver 

And appoint to me, O Christ, 

A place with Thine elected ones. 

J Tis Thy voice, ever adored, 

Which doth Thy saints to their glory summon 

Joyfully ; that voice shall I hear, even I, 

The feeble one, finding 

Of the Kingdom in the Heavens 

The blessedness unspeakable. 

Enter not, I would beseech, 

In judgment, reckoning my transgressions, 

Searching all my words, taking count of intents ; 

But remembering mercy, 

Overlooking all my faults 

Save me, O Thou Omnipotent. 



THE story of Theodore s life and activity would be 
left incomplete if it were not followed by some 
account, however brief, of the subsequent fortunes of 
those causes for which he laboured and suffered. To 
some it may seem that the man was greater than his 
causes, or rather, that it were unjust to his repu 
tation to regard him merely as the representative of 
a particular party in the Church or of one particular 
aspect of Christian doctrine. Like most great men, 
Theodore exercised an influence upon Jiis contem 
poraries, and through them on succeeding generations, 
which far exceeded in weight the effects of his 
conscious efforts to achieve definite results. Yet he 
so identified his mission in life with the restoration 
of the icons, the promotion of ecclesiastical unity, 
and the well-being of the " fathers and brothers " of 
Studium, that it seems fitting to conclude our narra 
tive with a slight sketch of the vicissitudes of each 
of these causes during the period which followed 
Theodore s death. 

I. As we have already seen, Theodore died without 
having seen the icons restored to what he regarded 
as their rightful position in the popular cult. But 
if he had lived a few years longer, he would have 
had to suffer worse things, in witnessing a revival 
of the iconoclastic persecution. Theophilus, son of 



Michael the Stammerer, who succeeded his father in 
the year 829, had been a pupil of John the Gram 
marian, and seems to have followed his teacher in 
opposing image-worship in a thorough-going and 
logical way. In 833, John became Patriarch, and 
the two worked together for the suppression of the 
cult of icons, a suppression which involved the punish 
ment, by exile and incarceration, of many devoted 
monks, among whom, as we should expect, the most 
conspicuous were Studites. There were two brothers 
belonging to Studium, Theodore and Theophanes, who, 
after repeated attempts on the part of the Emperor 
to induce them to conform, were punished for their 
obstinacy by having certain verses branded on their 
faces. 1 We read once more of the destruction of an 
image over the Gate Chalce, apparently in the same 
situation as that which had been removed at the 
very beginning of the iconoclastic movement and had 
witnessed the first shedding of blood in the controversy. 
Possibly Theophilus was the sterner in his persecution 
for being a persecutor on principle. It is not easy 
to discern clearly what manner of man he actually 
was, but from the record of the orthodox chroniclers 
who loved him not, he was distinguished by a great 
love of justice, a sense of public duty, especially 
in matters of state finance, courage and enterprise 
in war, and strong domestic affections. One is 
inclined to suspect some exaggeration in the stories 
of cruel punishments, though cruelty, or at least a 
callous content in inflicting pain, marks the whole 
public life of the time, and some of those stories rest 
on the testimony of the victims themselves, who 
continued to bear the marks of their sufferings. 

1 Hence they obtained the surname Graptoi, 


Whatever allowances we may make, we cannot doubt 
that the persecution of the iconodules under Theophilus 
was severe. He had a policy. But there were two 
tendencies acting against his will and preparing the 
way for a reaction to come as soon as he should be 
withdrawn. These were his want of success in war, 
and his orthodox wife. 

Theophilus was five times engaged in war with the 
Saracens, at first with success, later with failure and 
ignominy. It is a curious fact with regard to the 
Emperor and the Caliph Motassem that in these wars 
each took and destroyed the town which was the ancestral 
home of the other Sozopetra in Syria and Amoriurn 
in Phrygia. Theophilus came to be distinguished as 
the " Unfortunate. And every blow to the imperial 
forces was a gain to the cause of the recalcitrant 

The Empress Theodora was, as we have said, a 
favourer of the images. She was the daughter of a 
pious lady, Theoctista, who had obtained the dignity of 
patrician, and dwelt in a house close by the monastery 
of Gastrise. We have already shown our l grounds for 
supposing that the influence of Studium was strong in 
this religious house, which was situated in its immediate 
neighbourhood, and in some associated monasteries. In 
any case, Theoctista herself possessed and venerated 
images, though in general she kept her practices from 
public view. When, however, her little grand-daughters 
went to visit her, she ventured to show them her icons. 
Probably she did so with a word of caution, as the 
elder ones did not mention the matter at home, 
but little Pulcheria let out the secret by telling how 
Grandmamma kept some dolls in a chest and took 

1 Page 196, 


them out to kiss. The Emperor is said to have been 
very indignant, yet he took no measures against Theoc- 
tista, except the mild precaution of diminishing the 
frequency of her grand-daughters visits. Against 
Theodora herself stories were told by a spy but rejected 
by the Emperor on the mere pretence of an explanation 
on her part. His lenity in this respect is all the more 
remarkable if we accept a story which illustrates his 
severity towards her on another occasion. Theodora 
had indulged in a mercantile venture, without the 
knowledge of her husband, but when the ship arrived 
at Constantinople, and he learned to whom the cargo 
belonged, he ruthlessly ordered it all to be consumed 
by fire, saying : " Who has ever seen an Emperor of 
the Eomans or his Consort become a trader ? " 

It would seem then that though by no means an 
uxorious husband, Theophilus, in his own household, 
practised a religious toleration which had no place 
in his public policy. Herein he may remind us of 
Constantine Caballinus. And in both cases icon- 
worship among some members of the Court led to its 
restoration in the Church and the nation. 

When Theophilus died of dysentery in 842, his 
widow was associated in the government with their 
son Michael, a child three years old. Theodora was, of 
course, anxious to bring about a reaction in favour of 
the icons, but she was willing to bide her time, dread 
ing the influence of the Patriarch, and not, at first, 
quite certain as to the mind of her colleagues. The 
chief of these, appointed by Theophilus, were the 
secretary and household officer Theoctistus, Bardas, the 
Empress s brother, and Manuel, her uncle. Of these, 
Theoctistus was in favour of the change. Of the in 
tentions of Bardas at this time we are uncertain. He 


did not, in the sequel, show much deference to his 
sister s judgment, but it is not likely that he cherished 
many religious scruples, and he was probably already 
planning certain educational reforms which, when he 
was able to carry them out, established a centre of 
intellectual culture in the Palace of Magnauria, inde 
pendent of any monastic foundation. The heated air of 
religious controversy and the exile of many men capable 
of educational work must have seemed to him less favour 
able to culture than that unity in orthodoxy would be 
at which the Empress was aiming. In any case, he 
was willing to agree to her project. The other tutor, 
Manuel, was won over by some Studite monks, who, it 
was said, visited him in sickness and promised him 
recovery on condition that he used his influence and 
authority against iconoclasm. When once the rulers 
were agreed, the ecclesiastical authorities could, as on 
previous occasions, offer but a futile resistance. An im 
perial officer was sent to the Patriarch John to demand 
his submission, which was naturally refused. When, 
afterwards, John was found to have received a wound, 
his enemies declared that he had attempted suicide, 
and a specious excuse for his degradation was supplied. 
The world will never know what actually happened, nor 
be in a position to estimate accurately the character and 
career of this remarkable man, the most intellectual 
it would seem to us of the iconoclastic clergy. He was 
replaced by Methodius, a monk of undoubted orthodoxy, 
who had been imprisoned for his opinions, but released 
by Theophilus, in respect for his abilities. 

Though it was the Court rather than the Church that 
had taken the lead in the matter, it received, as soon as 
possible, the authorisation of a synod. Meantime the 
piety of the Empress was set on a more private object, 



the absolution and rehabilitation of her deceased hus 
band. She consulted on this question an assembly of 
orthodox clergy, who were unable to give her satisfac 
tion. She then had recourse to pious fraud, and de 
clared that on his death-bed Theophilus had expressed 
to her his penitence for the sin of persecuting the 
faithful. The clergy accepted her statement and pro 
mised to pray for the soul of the departed. 

The great day of triumph for the party of the 
icons was the first Sunday in Lent, 842, still kept 
as a festival in the Eastern Church. On Orthodoxy 
Sunday, pious Greeks listen to the rehearsal of all 
the heresies against which the Studites wrote, and to 
other opinions, many of which have a strange sound 
to modern ears, and condemn them with a thrice- 
repeated anathema. At the same service, the names 
of many confessors of the faith are read, that of Theo 
dore being prominent, and the people in each case 
answer thrice : "May his memory endure for ever." 

History seemed to be repeating itself and Theodora 
with her child to be taking the place assumed by Irene 
and her son two generations before. Had Theodore 
lived, he would doubtless have bestowed on this 
Empress the same eulogies that his party had lavished 
on Irene, and his biographer would again have had 
to regret that an act demanded by reason and justice 
should have been carried out by violent and irrespon 
sible hands. Yet there seems to be a difference between 
the two cases. The work of Irene was speedily 
reversed, but after the first Orthodoxy Sunday icono- 
clasm, in the Greek Church, never revived. Many 
other differences of theology and of ceremony helped, 
as we shall see, to widen the chasm between the East 
and the West, but this particular point does not recur. 


True, the manner in which reverence should be paid 
to artistic representations of the objects of Christian 
worship, and the kind of representation commended, 
came to be distinguished and specified later on. 1 But 
the one doctrine which the recognition of the icons set 
forth in the clearest way possible retained its place. 
The Church acknowledged Christ circumscribed in 
the flesh. Whether or no some other doctrines, to 
which Theodore could not have subscribed, came to be 
inseparably associated with the cult, need not concern 
us here. He had, by his words and his sufferings, 
weakened the opposite party beyond hope of revival. 
In the great conflict of his life, he, though no longer 
alive, was conqueror. 

II. Far otherwise was it with the other great idea 
of Theodore s, that of the unity of the Church under the 
spiritual authority of Rome. We have seen something 
of the forces that made for discord between both the 
spiritual and the secular authorities of East and West 
during the whole of Theodore s lifetime. These forces 
became aggravated in intensity and more complicated in 
their interaction through the succeeding two centuries, 
till the final breach between the Churches came in 1054. 

If, however, we would cease to think of impersonal 
forces, and single out one man who more than any 
other availed himself of the conditions of his age in 
order to assert and maintain the independence and 
consequently the isolation of the Eastern Church 
and the Eastern Empire, we should point to Photius, 
the second Patriarch of Constantinople after Methodius. 
The great learning of Photius, and the careful record 

1 The process by which statues in the round (aydX^ara), came to be pro 
hibited, while pictures (drives) were approved, seems to have been gradual- 
See Tozer s note to Finlay s " History of Greece," vol. ii. p. 165. 


which he kept of his very extensive reading, have made 
him a benefactor of modern scholarship. In relation 
to the parties and conflicts of his own times, he appears 
in a less attractive character. He was made Patriarch 
by the machinations of Bardas, who, on trumped-up 
charges, secured the deposition of the existing 
Patriarch, Ignatius. Photius notified his appoint 
ment at Rome, but Ignatius sent a complaint to Pope 
Nicolas L, who sent legates to inquire into the case. 
These legates were won over by Photius and Bardas. 
Pope Nicolas, dissatisfied with the issue, held a synod 
at the Lateran, by which Photius was declared to be 
deposed and excommunicated. Nicolas also wrote a 
long letter to the Emperor Michael, in which a good 
many old causes of quarrel were recapitulated. The 
whole Eastern system of Caesaro-Papism was attacked, 
and the supremacy of Rome strongly asserted. The 
tension of feeling in Italy is shown in the expression 
of resentment against the Emperor s contempt for the 
Latin language. If the tongue of the Romans is 
barbarous, why is Michael so anxious to be called 
Roman Emperor? Of course these threats did not 
prevent Photius from retaining his seat, so long as 
he possessed the confidence of the Court and Emperor. 
Meantime, he went so far as to accuse the Latin 
Church of heresy, in that it asserted the Procession 
of the Holy Ghost "from the Father and the Son." 
This is the one doctrinal point at issue in the last 
struggle between the Churches. It is not one which 
comes home to the mind and feelings of the laity as do 
any questions affecting the popular cult. It served as a 
party cry for many centuries, but the " Filioque " clause 
in the Creed would not alone have stirred up mortal 
strife. Another ground of much dispute related to the 


rival missions of Eastern and Western Churches to 
the Bulgarians, who had decided to adopt Christianity, 
and found that in doing so they must range them 
selves under one or other hopelessly hostile system 
of discipline and jurisdiction. Photius was an artful 
diplomatist, and in the affairs of Western Europe he 
found forces at work which he might turn to account 
in his opposition to the See of Eome. 

The Carolingian Emperors, in spite of the strained 
relations in which they commonly stood towards those 
who ruled at Constantinople, had kept up intercourse 
of various kinds with the East. When Theophilus was 
hard bestead in his wars with the Saracens, he sent a 
distinguished emissary, the patrician Theodosius, to 
suggest an offensive league between the two chief 
rulers of Christendom against the Moslems. This 
early project of a crusade was blighted by the death 
of the ambassador, followed by that of the Emperor 
Lewis the Pious, and two years later, by that of 
Theophilus. The various members of the Frankish 
royal house were too much engaged in domestic 
disputes to attend to the affairs of the East. Before 
long, however, it became evident that some of them 
had a foe in common with the Byzantine authorities 
in the person of Pope Nicolas I. We need not relate 
in detail the efforts of Nicolas to maintain the 
supremacy of Eoman jurisdiction in the Western 
Church and also to uphold his own moral and spiritual 
authority over princes whose matrimonial relations 
would make those of Constantine VI. seem respectable 
in comparison. His actions brought him into conflict 
with the power of the great metropolitans of the West, 
notably Hincmar of Rheims and also with the 
energetic efforts of the Emperor Lewis II. to make the 


imperial power in Italy really effective. The point to 
be noticed is that Photius and his supporters had 
the cunning to utilise to their own ends the dis 
affection caused by the uncompromising independence 
of Nicolas. Thus we find that Photius entered into 
negotiations with Lewis II. and promised to secure 
the recognition of his right to the title Basileus 
(instead of the barbarous one of riga) if he would 
support Constantinople against Eome. But the course 
of events was checked by a revolution at Byzantium 
and a change in the Papacy at Rome. Michael was 
assassinated by Basil the Macedonian, who had already 
caused the death of Bardas, and who began a new 
and strong dynasty in Constantinople. One of his 
first acts was to degrade Photius and reinstate Ignatius 
in the Patriarchate. Meantime, Pope Nicolas I. was 
succeeded by Hadrian II., a friend to the interests of 
the Frankish Emperor, and generally a lover of peace. 
Accordingly legates from Rome attended the Council 
held in Constantinople in 869, which ranks as the 
eighth oecumenical, and in which decrees were passed 
favourable, in general, to the Roman views. Next 
year the forces of Eastern and Western Empires were 
combined against the Saracens, who were ravaging 
the coasts of Illyria and Dalmatia, and had gained a 
footing in Southern Italy. But in both cases the 
reconciliation was hollow. Before the legates left 
Constantinople, they had been subjected to many 
unpleasant experiences, and the Emperor Basil made 
an attempt to rob them of their reports of the Council 
on their way home. And before the united military 
forces had obtained more than one marked success, 
the conquest of Bari the Emperors were again at 
variance. A few years later, when the Frankish 


Empire had sunk into hopeless decrepitude, and Italy 
was in a state of anarchy and wild confusion, another 
Pope, John VIII. , made overtures to Constantinople. 
But Photius, who had been restored to the Patriarchate, 
was in no mood for compromise, and he now had the 
Emperor Basil on his side. There were again wretched 
exhibitions of duplicity and acrimony, and the breach 
was made wider than before. 

Meantime, the matters of ritual and of custom in 
which the Churches differed were becoming crystallised, 
and they called forth much bitter controversy. The 
Latin Church had adopted the use of unleavened bread 
for the Eucharist. It kept Saturday as a vigil, a 
practice unknown to the Greeks. The Greeks allowed 
married priests to officiate without repudiating their 
wives. They also postponed baptism till the eighth 
day, even in the case of delicate children. Again, 
the Greek priests commonly wore beards. The theo 
logical question of the Filioque and the ecclesio- 
political question as to the ultimate resort of spiritual 
authority might appeal more forcibly to thinkers and 
statesmen, but the visible signs of the inward diver 
gence could be better realised by the people at large. 

When the final breach was made, never to be closed 
up except for a brief and doubtful period, we see the 
collapse of Theodore s ecclesiastical policy. Yet that 
very occasion marks his personal ascendency as a dis 
tinguished confessor of his church. The events, briefly 
stated, were as follows : 

The year 1053 was marked by the victory of the 
Normans over the Papal forces at the battle of 
Civitella, in which Leo IX. was taken captive. This 
catastrophe put an end to the last project for a com 
bined resistance of Greeks and Italians to save Italy 


from Western barbarians. The Western Empire had 
passed from the family of Charlemagne and become 
German in character and aims. The Emperor of the 
East was at this time Constantine X. (Monomachus), 
and the Patriarch of Constantinople, a cleverer or 
at least a more persistent man than the Emperor, 
was Michael Cerularius. It seems that the Byzantine 
Patriarch hated the Roman See, and made use of 
the calamities of Pope Leo and the failure of his 
alliance with Constantine, to adopt a more definitely 
anti-Roman policy than before. Closely associated 
with him was a Studite monk, Nicetas Pectoratus, 
who wrote a pamphlet against the Roman heresies, 
especially as to unleavened bread and the Saturday 
fast. Leo remonstrated, but without effect. Mean 
time the Emperor, who seems to have been more 
pacific in his intentions than the Patriarch, 1 invited 
the Pope to send delegates to a Conference at 
Constantinople, with a view to reconciliation and 
peace. These legates all men of some standing- 
arrived early in 1054. They were armed with com 
plaints of old and new grievances, and the Patriarch 
did not receive them with too much courtesy. They 
were, however, allowed to take measures against 
Nicetas. In company with some imperial officials, 
they visited Studium and demanded the submission of 
Nicetas, whose book was solemnly burned. We might 
naturally regard this episode as marking both a 
change in sentiments and a decline in vigour on the 
part of the Studite monks. We shall see, however, 
that Nicetas did not represent the views of the abbot 
and the community generally, though if the abbot 

1 Gfroerer thinks that Constantine favoured the monks of Mount 
Athos as a counterpoise to the influence of Cerularius. 


had had much of the spirit of Theodore, he would 
hardly have allowed an anti-Roman monk to remain 
in the monastery. Be this as it may, the legates 
were not allowed to proceed further in securing the 
satisfaction they required, and were reduced to taking 
the matter into their own hands. They solemnly 
published a ban on the Greek heresies and all who 
favoured them, and deposited the document on the 
altar of the Church of the Divine Wisdom. They 
then withdrew from the city. The Emperor in vain 
endeavoured to persuade them to return. The 
Patriarch held a Synod, at which he feigned that 
the legates had not been acting with full Papal 
authority. But the Pope was willing to accept 
responsibility for what had been done. The Emperor 
was now practically compelled to throw in his lot 
with the Patriarch. The Papal Bull was burned, and 
the heads of Eastern and Western Churches were 
each by the other declared excommunicate. 

Now, as we have said, the Emperor had not felt 
cordially towards the Patriarch, and at some time 
during the conflict he seems to have asserted authority 
over him in a matter which only bore indirectly on 
the main issue. 1 In his zeal against all favourers of 
Rome, Cerularius had erased the name of Theodore 
the Studite from the diptycha. The abbot of Studium, 
Mermentulus, who was opposed to the policy of the 
Patriarch, complained to the Emperor. Constantine 
accordingly contrived a dramatic scene for humbling 
the pride of Cerularius. In a solemn assembly, 2 when 

1 I take this story from Gfroerer : Byzantinische Geschichte, vol. iii. It 
must, however, be noted that it seems only to rest on a manuscript 
commentary on the text of Cedren. 

2 On Orthodoxy Sunday ? 


the list of saints was proclaimed to the people for 
their veneration, the reader paused at the name which 
the Patriarch had desired to erase. Thereupon the 
Patriarch, having received instruction from Constantine, 
arose from his throne, and pronounced the name of 
Theodore the Studite. If this story is true, it serves 
to mark a notable fact : that the Eastern Church, 
while repudiating the policy towards Rome which 
Theodore had constantly upheld, felt, nevertheless, 
that it could not spare so great a saint from its 
calendar. It might depart from his counsels, but to 
this day it venerates his memory. 

III. If Theodore could have foreseen the future, he 
would doubtless have rejoiced at the restoration of the 
icons, by whatever means it might be accomplished. 
The permanent schism in the Church would have 
grieved his soul, even if accompanied by an emphatic 
recognition of his own dignity as a confessor of the 
faith. How would he have felt as to his third object 
of solicitude, the future of his monastery ? We may 
well believe that, on the whole, he would have been 
gratified. For though there are obscure passages in its 
history, Studium remained generally true to the char 
acter impressed upon it by his example, exhortations, 
and never ceasing labours. 

We do not know much about the Studites during 
the reign of Theophilus, 1 except that many of them 
suffered severe persecution. Orthodoxy Sunday was, 
of course, a grand day for Studium. The first abbot 
after the times of distress was Naucratius, the trusted 
" son " to whom a large number of Theodore s letters 

1 For this part of the history, I follow almost entirely the account of 
M;irin (De Studio, specially chapters v. and viii.) who has most diligently 
collected many scattered notices in chronicles and biographies. 


were addressed. It was early in the time of his 
government that the great ceremony was held to which 
reference has already been made, the translation of the 
bones of Theodore, under the care of the monks of 
Studium and Saccudio, from the Island of Princeps to 
their final resting place at Studium, where they were 
deposited, in the presence of the Empress Theodora 
and a large concourse of citizens. 

Naucratius and his monks had some differences with 
the Patriarch Methodius. The origin and the course 
of the dispute are obscure, 1 but it seems to have resulted 
from the jealousy felt by Methodius for the memory of 
his predecessors, Tarasius and Nicephorus, who had, as 
we know, been several times opposed by Theodore. 
Methodius felt it necessary to read a discourse to the 
Studite monks on the duty of subordination to superiors. 
But if there was a slight storm, it speedily blew 
over. Naucratius was succeeded in 848 by Nicolas, 
the companion of Theodore in his adversities and 
captivity. After three years Nicolas renounced his 
office to retire into a hermitage, but he was recalled to 
his post and induced to take a leading part in the con 
flicts respecting the Patriarchate. As might naturally 
be expected, Nicolas and the Studites were strong 
supporters of Ignatius against Photius, who, when his 
authority was established, sent Nicolas into banishment 
and tried, by the appointment of successive supporters 
of his own cause, to break the spirit of the refractory 
monks. In the second Patriarchate of Photius and 
during the following period, Studium seems to have 
grown and prospered. We have already seen how one 
of its members, Nicetas Pectoratus, entered the lists on 

1 See anonymous extract, T)e schismate Studitarum, at the end of the 
Migne edition of Theodore s works. 


behalf of Cerularius against the Latin Church, and thus 
brought upon his monastery a visit from the Roman 
legates. 1 

The imperial family for several centuries showed 
respect in many ways for the greatest of Byzantine 
monasteries. We have an elaborate description by 
Porphyrogennetus of the imposing ceremony held 
there on St. John the Baptist s Day, when the Emperor 
and his officials went to Studium in state, and venerated 
the head of the Precursor, 2 which was kept there as the 
most precious of relics. Two emperors, Isaac Comnenus 
and Michael VII. (Ducas), sought a refuge there and 
adopted the monastic habit, and two young princes of 
the house of Comnenus were entrusted to the monks 
for education. In the Fourth Crusade, as has been 
already stated, great part of the buildings were de 
stroyed by fire, but on the restoration of the Palseo- 
logi, Studium arose again to a position of influence and 
honour. In 1381, the head of the monastery (now 
called Archimandrite) had confirmed to him the pre 
cedence over all other abbots at synods and all 
ecclesiastical functions. 

But it would certainly have been a greater satis 
faction to Theodore to know that his monastery 
flourished in earnest and efficient labours, not only 
in wealth and glory. We have already mentioned 
the literary services of the Studite monks to their 
own and to succeeding generations, both in their 
own literary products, especially religious poetry, 
and still more in their invaluable work as careful 
copyists of ancient writings. It is not only the 

1 Marin makes Symeon abbot at this crisis and does not acknowledge 

3 When did it come there ? 


Studites strictly so called that perpetuated the moral 
and intellectual influences which we primarily attribute 
to Theodore. Many monasteries looked to Studium 
as their model. Thence men could go forth skilled 
in various manual arts, trained to severe and regulated 
labour, accustomed to regard their meanest as their 
most exalted efforts in the light of a religious service. 
The Studite rule was copied in many details by those 
who, from the tenth century onwards, created a system 
of monastic rule on the promontory of Mount Athos. 
And our debt to the monks of Mount Athos is one 
that scholars are coming more and more to appreciate. 1 
The influence of Studium spread over to Russia and 
helped in the development of monasticism there. " It 
is no exaggeration," says one of the best authorities 
on the subject, 2 " if the Studites say, in the Intro 
duction to the Hypotyposis, that their rule has been 
adopted by many of the most important monasteries. 
In any case, the fact is beyond doubt that Studium 
had a powerful influence on Greek Monasticism, 
and that by means of this monastery, the develop 
ment of the monasteries of Athos comes to be 
closely associated with that of Greek monasticism 

The modern world looks elsewhere than to the 
cloister for the springs of intellectual energy by 
which our present life is kept in touch with the past 
while reaching forward into the future. Still less 
do we look to that quarter for guidance in social 

1 The monks of Athos still maintain something of Theodore s spirit. 
A lady in society, speakiEg to a traveller who had visited them, remarked : 
" I suppose they lead very idle, useless lives." " Yes, Madam," was the 
reply, " they only work and pray." 

2 Ph. Meyer : Die Haupturkunden fur die Geschichte der Athos- 
kloster, p. 19. 


organisation and for light on the complicated relations 
of present-day civilisation. Yet, after all, most of the 
knowledge we possess, and much of our power of 
social co-operation, have come down to our secular 
life from the religious institutions of the past. And 
the importance of those institutions, their influence 
for good and evil, is a profitless study apart from 
that of the great characters that stood at their 
foundation. Eastern monasticism, always a very 
powerful element in the Eastern Church, can only 
be rightly interpreted if we study the life and char 
acter of the greatest Eastern monks. Those who 
have followed the career and entered into the mind 
of Theodore the Studite will be able in some measure to 
estimate both the strength and the weakness of Greek 
monasticism during a critical period of the world s 
history. They may also increase their sympathy with 
the past and gather hope for the future as they 
discover how, amid political intrigues and religious 
controversies, when the ancient nations seem to have 
become effete, and the young and vigorous to be given 
up to violence and anarchy, there always remain 
some centres of moral illumination and of vigorous 
activity. For whatever else in national and social 
life may prove impotent and fleeting, fearless devotion 
to duty and strenuous effort towards a spiritual goal, 
must, in the long run, appear as the greatest of the 
powers that build up the history of mankind. 



ALTHOUGH the works of Theodore have been copiously cited in 
these chapters, it may be desirable, for the sake of those students 
who wish to make a closer acquaintance with them, to indi 
cate briefly where these works can most easily be found. This 
sketch will be confined to what exists in print. A good deal 
written by Theodore is still in manuscript form, and a certain 
amount has been lost altogether. In Omont s Catalogue of the 
Greek Manuscripts in the National Library in Paris, we find the 
titles of some works ascribed to Theodore which do not appear in 
our editions ; and in the Catalogues of the Libraries of the Mount 
Athos monasteries, there appear a good many MSS. which might 
yield fresh matter. On the whole, however, what is mostly 
needed now is not so much a larger and completer as a more criti 
cal edition of Theodore s works, both in poetry and prose. The 
reader cannot help feeling that some of the orations, poems, and 
epistles are more than doubtful as to authorship and very un 
certain as to date. The work of re-editing the whole requires a 
historian, a theologian, and a liturgicist. The fabric is as yet 
incomplete, but the foundations are well laid. 

The books to which the English student can have access in 
any first-rate library are mainly seven : 

I. Chief of all is the great edition by Migne, which forms 
vol. xcix. of the Patrologice Cursus Completus, Series Grceca, and 
was published at Paris in 1860. It is based upon the earlier- 
edition of the learned Jesuit Sirmond, confessor to Louis XIII., 
and contains additional matter from the publications of Cardinal 
Angelo Mai (see No. ii.). This edition is, of course, a monu 
ment of care and erudition, if not without minor errors. The 
chief defect is that it is not complete, in that it lacks a very 
large number of Theodore s letters, and is deficient in the 
most characteristic of all his compositions, the Catechetical 

Discourses. Of these there are only a hundred and thirty-four 



(constituting the Parva Catechesis), and these mostly in a Latin 
translation only. 

To give summarily the contents of the book : 

We have first (pp. 9-113), valuable excerpts from Introductions 
to earlier editions, with the testimony of ancient writers to the 
character and life of Theodore, and a very useful chronological 
summary by Sirmond. Then follow the two Lives, both of which 
were attributed to Michael the Monk (pp. 114-327), the first one, as 
appears, erroneously. Something is said about these Lives above 
(in chapter ii. and note at the end). 

Next follow the Antirrhetici tres contra Iconomachos (pp. 327- 
436), of which an account is given above in chapter ix. 

Another controversial work (pp. 436-478), following the above, 
is in the curious form of a refutation of certain iconoclastic poems, 
which had been written, in very artificial style, with acrostics, 
by John, Ignatius, Sergius, and Stephen. I am not sure whether 
these persons have been identified. John seems likely to be 
John the Grammarian, of whom there is frequent mention 
above. The acrostic verses are answered in others of the same 
kind, and followed by a commentary in prose. 

The next work (pp. 478-486), is also controversial : " Certain 
questions propounded to the Iconomachi who deny that our Lord 
Jesus Christ is circumscribed (or depicted : ey-ypafaa-Oon) as 
to His bodily form." It is an endeavour to make a kind of 
reductio ad absurdum of the iconoclastic position, by throwing 
into the form of a dilemma the ordinary arguments based on 
the Two Natures, and the cognate doctrines accepted by both 

The " Seven Chapters (/ce<aAcua) against the Iconomachi " 
(pp. 486-498), are directed against the objections made to the icons 
on the score of idolatry, absence of icons from the Gospel, false 
analogy of the cross, and so forth. 

We next have mention in Migne (p. 499), of the " Epistle to 
Theophilus concerning the holy Images," which conditions of time 
would prevent us from attributing to Theodore, unless it were 
written very near the end of his life, while Theophilus was 
interesting himself in public affairs, under his father s govern 
ment. The general opinion of scholars seems to be against the 
attribution of this work to Theodore himself. It is published 
in the works of John of Damascus, who, of course, cannot pos 
sibly be the author. 


Then follows (pp. 499-506) what is called " An Epistle to his 
Father, Plato, concerning the worship of the Images." This is 
a brief statement, drawn up by the desire of Plato, of the chief 
arguments for proving the unity of worship in the cult of the 
images, in order to repel the charge of idolatry. 

The " Catechetical Discourses " which follow (pp. 506-688) have 
been described in the text, especially in chapter v., and frequently 
referred to. As already stated, they are very imperfectly given 
in Migne, who has only the one hundred and thirty-four sermons 
of the Parva Catechesis, and, with the exception of sermon forty- 
one and some fragments, has these only in a Latin version. 

The "Thirteen Orations" (pp. 687-902) (of which Migne gives 
the Greek text) are generally much longer, and far more pre 
tentious and rhetorical in character. They comprise two (xii. 
and xiii.) which are of the highest interest and have been 
very much referred to in the text.: the funeral orations on the 
Abbot Plato and on Theodore s mother Theoctista, both to a 
large extent biographical. The First Oration on Abstinence 
and Temperance is very much like the general run of the Cate- 
cheses. The Second very rhetorical in style is on the Adora 
tion of the Cross. The Third, for the "Vigil of Lights," 1 on 
baptism, fasting, and the human life of Christ, is especially 
Studite in character, since the symbolism connected with light 
was always much in vogue at Studium. The Fourth, for Easter 
Day, has incorporated a homily of St. John Chrysostom. Of 
course the debt is acknowledged, and we can see how homilies 
addressed to one congregation like Theodore s own might 
easily be read to another. The Fifth, on the death of the 
Virgin, has sometimes been attributed to John of Damascus, 
but it seems now to be generally assigned to Theodore. It 
acknowledges Mary as Queen of the Universe, and gives the 
legend of her death with the twelve-fold eulogy of the Apostles. 
The Sixth, 011 Angels, though there is a good deal of symbolism 
in it, is disappointing to any reader who is on the look-out 
for the ideas of Dionysius the Areopagite. The inferiority of 
most of the Orations to the Catechetical Discourses is very 
marked. It is, however, possible that some of them, if the work 
of Theodore, belong to his early days, and were composed as 
a kind of rhetorical exercise to be submitted to Abbot Plato. 

1 From the Catechesis Ohronica. I should suppose this to be held on the 
eve of the Epiphany. 



This suggestion applies also to the next four : " On the Birth and 
on the Beheading of John the Baptist," " On St. John the Evan 
gelist," and "On St. Bartholomew." In the case of the last- 
mentioned saint, our meagre information about him is eked out 
by reflections on his coming last of the first six or first of the 
second six of the Apostles. The Twelfth on the hermit Arsenius, 
is a more congenial subject for Theodore ; one anecdote in it is 
worth repeating. A pious lady found out the hermit in his soli 
tude and said : " Pray for me and always remember me." The 
hermit replied : " I will pray that the remembrance of you may 
be blotted from my mind." 

The Letters of Theodore, of which two books follow in the 
Migne Collection, have been the chief sources for this biography. 
The first book (pp. 903-1116) consists mainly of a selection made 
from those written during Theodore s first and second exile, and 
are fifty-seven in number. The second book (pp. 1 1 15-1670) of two 
hundred and twenty-one, is chiefly of those belonging to the third 
exile (pp. 1670-1679). In a few cases we have only the names of 
the persons to whom the letters were addressed. The names of 
correspondents and first lines of two hundred and seventy-seven 
more letters follow from the collection made by Montfauyon in 
the Coislin Library. The rest of the volume has chiefly to do 
with Theodore s disciplinary works. There is a very short 
treatise (pp. 1682-1684) called "The Four Chapters on the Ascetic 
Life 1 (taken by Migne from the Thesaurus Asceticus of Petr. 
Possin), very much like a catechetical discourse. 

What is called the " Scholium of Theodore Studites on the 
Ascetic Life of Basil" (pp. 1684-1688), is a fragment defending the 
Basilian authorship of that work, chiefly by critical argument, 
though with the suggestion that to hold the contrary opinion 
is impious ; even as it is to doubt the Pauline authorship of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews or the Petrine of the Second Epistle of 
St. Peter. Theodore could argue as a critic, but the days of 
free criticism had gone or were not yet come. 

" The Explanation of the Liturgy of the Prsesanctified (pp. 1687- 
1690), is a short description of the ceremonial followed in the 
Feast of Consecrated Bread a survival, apparently, of the Agape, 
which seems not to have quite died out either in the Eastern 
or in the Western Church. 

After a note on the unedited Typicum of Studium (pp. 1691- 
1 692), Migne gives what is called the Catechesis Clironica of Studium, 


a marking out of the Christian Year with feasts and fasts (pp. 

The Constitutiones StnditiancB (pp. 1703-1720) have furnished 
material for our chapter v. , as also have the De Confessione et 
pro Peccatis Satisfactions Canones (pp. 1722-1730). A few answers 
to sundry questions as to various observances follow (pp. 1734- 
1758), and then the Poence Monaster idles. 

Next come some metrical productions (pp. 1758-1768) : first the 
" Canon for the Adoration of the Cross" ; then that for the " Restora 
tion of the Images/ which, as we have said, cannot possibly be 
Theodore s. 

The various Iambi (pp. 1780-181 1), including those addressed to 
the various functionaries of Studium, follow. With these are a 
good many addresses to various saints. 

A sermon (Ixviii.) on keeping Lent (in a Latin version), 
follows here (pp. 1811-1812), though out of place. 

The "Testament" of Theodore (pp. 1813-1824), his confession 
of faith, and last directions to his followers, is a document of 
considerable interest, though it does not seem certain that we 
have it in its original form. 

In an Appendix (pp. 1824-1850), we have the account given by 
Naucratius of the last days and death of Theodore, and a note 
on the " Schism," or separation from the Patriarchs, of the Studites 
under Theodore. Among the Indices there are useful lists of the 
correspondents of Theodore, and the attempt of Baronius to 
arrange the Letters in chronological order (pp. 1857-1858). 

It is thus evident that the Migne Edition, though fairly 
comprehensive, is deficient in three different departments of 
Theodore s works, the Letters, the Catechetical Discourses, and 
the Church Hymns. 

II. In the first two of these departments, however, we are able 
to supplement Migne from the Nova Patrum Bibliotheca of Car 
dinal Angelo Mai. In the volume viii. of this work, published 
1871, there are two hundred and ninety-six more letters edited 
by G. Cozza-Luzi. In volume ix., published 1888, the same 
editor gives us, in addition to the Greek edition of the Parva 
Catechesis, seventy- seven discourses from the Magna Catechesis. 
These do not differ greatly from the discourses of the Parva 
in form and tone. Perhaps on the average they are a little 
longer. The very great interest of the Catechetical Discourses 
in enabling the reader to understand the mind of Theodore and 


to discern the secret of his influence, has already been sufficiently 
set forth above. 

III. There has since appeared (Paris, 1891) another Greek 
edition by Auvray of the Parva CatecJiesis, with an appreciative 
Introduction by Tougard. This forms a very attractive volume. 
The historical and critical notes are very helpful to the student. 

IV. For the Church Hymns of Theodore, the student should 
go, first to the great work of Cardinal J. B. Pitra : " Analecta 
Sacra Spicilegio Solesimnsi" vol. i., in which he will find (pp. 
336-380) eighteen poems by Theodore. In the interesting and 
helpful Introduction and the account of manuscripts at the end, 
the author gives us some impression of the Herculean labour 
required to find out, identify, and put into legible form the hymns 
of this collection. 

V. Another collection of Greek Hymns, the Analecta of Christ 
and Paranikos, contains a few by Theodore, and (on p. 264) a list 
of the hymns, or rather of a certain number of hymns, in the 
Service-Books, which are to be regarded as Theodore s. 

VI. The reader naturally turns, if he can, to the Service-Books 
themselves, but here he is met by difficulties. The books them 
selves are not easily procured in England. They are (so far as 
I have seen) not indexed, the text has not been kept pure from 
additions or alterations, and the attributions of the poems to a 
particular author are not always to be trusted, even if there. 
There is a peculiar difficulty with regard to the poems of Theo 
dore. His name is a very common one, and his works, both in 
prose and verse, are often confounded with those of other Theo 
dores. The book which contains the largest number of his 
canons or other hymns, is the Triodion, a Service -Book for 
Lent with the preceding Sundays. The books of the Mencsa 
are arranged in months with lessons and hymns appropriate to 
the various saints days. The hymns include Canons as well as 
Idiomela and other types of verse. Several of the shorter, 
detached poems, especially in the Triodion, are attributed to 
Theodore, but, as Pitra shows, the Studite influence was in 
general favourable to the Canons rather than to other types of 
hymnody. There is a fine edition published in Venice : The 
Triodion in 1839, the Mencea in 1848, the Paracletica in 1843. 

VII. It would seem ungrateful to conclude without mentioning 
the one Englishman who has endeavoured to put Theodore into 
English dress, and to present a few of his poems in a form suit- 


able for modern readers and even for congregational singing. 
Dr. Neale, in his " Hymns of the Eastern Church," gives a 
translation of several odes of the Canon, which we have called 
the Studite Dies free, as well as the hymn of very doubtful 
authorship for the restoration of images on Orthodoxy Sunday. 
This little book, with its introduction on Greek sacred poetry, 
may not be quite adequate to the student s needs, but it is 
written with enthusiastic devotion to the subject, and it has 
had considerable influence in making the English public familiar 
with at least some phases of religious thought and feeling in the 
Eastern Church. 

The result of this brief survey would seem to be that a com 
plete edition of Theodore s works is still wanting. It would also 
suggest that such an edition would require the labours either 
of a many-sided scholar, or of a group of scholars severally de 
voted to various lines of literary activity, so various were the 
paths followed by Theodore, successively or simultaneously, in 
the course of his full and strenuous life. 


ABGARUS, King, 126. 

Academy, The, of Constantinople, 

Acoemeti, The, 68 seq. 

Acrita, Promontory of, 200, 219. 

Adelchis the Lombard, 38. 

Adelperga of Beneventum, 38. 

Adrianople, Battle of, with Bul 
garians, 137. 

Aetius, minister of Irene, 102, 103. 

Albeneca, wife of the Protospa- 
tharius, 212. 

Alexander, founder of the Acoemeti, 

Alexius Moslem, 54, 63. 

Anastasius made Patriarch, 8. 

Anastasius, official under Leo V., 


Anna the Nun, 214. 
Antirrhetici of Theodore, 160 seq. 
Antonius, Bishop of Syllacum, later 

Patriarch of Constantinople, 141 

seq., 242. 

Apollonia, Lake of, 145. 
Arichis, Duke of Beneventum, 38, 

47, 48. 

Arsafius, 132 seq. 
Athos, Monasteries of, 23 1 seq., 240, 


BARDAS, kinsman of Leo V., 175. 

Bardas, brother of Empress Theo 
dora, 19, 256, 260. 

Basil, Abbot, 125. 

Basil, St., his rule followed in 
Eastern monasteries, 32 seq. ; re 
spected and quoted by Theodore, 
32, 76, 127, 155, 163, 166,217. 

Basil, son of Leo V., 196 seq. 
Basil, the Macedonian Emperor, 

Bithynia, Plato in, 25 ; connection 

with Theodore and his family, 

25, 27, 171, 191. 

Boneta in Anatolian Theme, 172. 
Boscytium, Theodore in, 31, 34. 
Bouvy, Edmond, 240. 
Bulgarians, Wars of Greeks with, 

6, 54, 128, 135 seq. 
Bury, Professor J. B. quoted, 6, 9, 

Byzantium. See Constantinople. 

CALLIGRAPHY at Studium, 77 ; 

Theodore s services to, 231-234. 

Canon in the Greek Church, 


Casia (Icasia), the Poetess, 218, 
226 seq. 

Catecheses (addresses of Theodore to 
his monks), 82 seq. ; translation 
of two, 89-92, 273, 274. 

Chalcita, Island of, 197. 

Charles, King of the Franks 
(Charlemagne), his relation to 
Italy and the Papacy, 37, 38, 
46-48 ; events which led to his 
coronation as Emperor, 94 seq. ; 
his coronation and its motives, 
97 ; his negotiations with Irene, 
99 seq. ; his wars and negotia 
tions with Nicephorus, 107, 108 ; 
receives embassy from Michael 
I., 132 seq. ; his death, 135. 

Claudius, Bishop of Turin, 206. 

Clugny compared to Studium, 2. 




Constantino V. (Caballinus) reign 
ing at birth of Theodore, 6 ; his 
wars, ib. ; his iconoclastic policy, 
9 seq., 24 ; his death, 26 ; exile 
of Studites by, 69; invoked by 
people, 137. 

Constantino VI. : his accession, 26 ; 
betrothal to Rothrud, 39; mar 
riage to Maria, 40; at Council 
in Constantinople, 42 ; signs de 
crees of Nicsea, 45 ; rivalry with 
his mother, 52 seq. ; marriage 
with Theodote, 55; military 
disasters and blinding, 63; 
his character, 64; dealings of 
Nicephorus with, 108 ; his death, 
109; note on date of his death, 
1 13 leg. 

Constantino X., Emperor, 264 seq. 

Constantinople, position of Studium 
in, i ; Theodore born in, 3 ; re 
pulse of Saracens from, 6 ; Synod 
in, 9; civilisation of, 12, 13; first 
meeting of Seventh Council in, 
42; besieged by Thomas, 198 
seq. ; another Council in, 262 ; 
final embassy from Pope to, 264 

Crescentius, Monastery of, 1 90, 200. 

Crumn, King of the Bulgarians, 
128,130, 135, 138, 139. 

DEMETRIUS the Consul, 212. 
Dionysius the Areopagite, 157, 158, 
163, 184, 206, 207. 

ECLOGA published, 6. 
Eginhard quoted, 98. 
Eleutheriuin, Palace of, 103, 104, 


Eliseus, Greek tutor to Rothrud, 39. 

Epiphanius the Studite, 1 26. 

Eugenius, Pope, 203. 

Eulogius of Alexandria, 127. 

Euphrosyne, daughter of Constan 
tino VI., takes the veil, 109 ; mar 
ried to Michael II. 195 ; seeks a 
bride for Theophilus, 218, 228. 

Euphrosyne, Abbess, 215 seq. 

Euthymius, Bishop of Sardis, 143. 
Euthymius, brother of Theodore, 
17 ; forced retirement, 28. 

FRANKFORT, Council of, 47. 

GERM ANUS, Patriarch of Constan 
tinople, opposes Leo III., 7, and 
is deposed, 8. 

Gnosimachi, 124. 

Gregory the Great, 1 57, 204. 

Gregory II., Pope, protests against 
Iconoclasm, 8. 

Gregory III., Pope : his opposition 
to Emperor Leo III., 9. 

Gregory Pterotes, 198, 199. 

Grimwald of Beneventum, 47, 48. 

HADRIAN I., Pope, 37, 41, 46. 
Hadrian II., Pope, 262. 
Haroun al Rashid, 98, 107, 130. 
Hefele, History of Church Councils, 


liirmus and Troparia, 238 seq. 
Hodgkin, Dr. T. quoted, 5, 13, 153. 

ICASIA. See under Casia. 

Iconoclasm, policy of, begun, 7 seq. 
(see also Iconoduly) ; arguments 
against, 149-168 ; revived by Leo 
V., 140 seq. ; by Theophilus, 254 ; 
abandoned, 258 seq. 

Iconoduly (or image-worship), ap 
proved at Nicsea, 43 seq. 

Irene, Abbess, 2 1 5 seq. 

Irene, Empress, wife of Leo IV., 
favourable to Images, 26 ; power 
and policy after her husband s 
death, 27 seq. ; her marriage pro 
ject for her son, 39 ; changed 
policy, 40 ; rivalry with her son, 
52 seq. ; forced to retire, 54; her 
triumph and sole reign, 63 seq. ; 
her negotiations with Charles the 
Great, 99 xeq. ; dethroned, 103 seq. 

Isaurian Dynasty. See under Leo 
III., Constantine V., &c. 

Italy, Affairs of, 8, 38, 107, 262 seq. 



JOHN of Damascus, 21, 124, 153. 

John the Grammarian, his influ 
ence over Leo V., 140; his life 
and character, 142 seq. ; Theodore 
and, 1 66, 242 ; policy as Patri 
arch, 254 seq. ; deposed, 257. 

John VIII, Pope, 263. 

Joseph the Steward marries Con 
stantino VI. to Theodote, 56; 
degraded, 64 ; restored, 117; con 
flict concerning him, 117 seq. ; 
degraded again, 129. 

Joseph, brother of Theodore, 17; 
retirement, 28 ; with Theodore, 
6 1 ; perhaps suggested for Patri 
archate, 112; made Bishop of 
Thessalonica, 118; on Theodore s 
side against Leo V., 181 ; meets 
Theodore, 190; death of, 200; 
correspondence with Theodore, 
208 ; translation to Stadium, 
221 ; poetry, 242. 

Justinian, his legislation as to 
monasteries, 33, 52. 

KRUMBACHER, Karl, 226 seq., 234, 

Aarpela distinguished from irpoa- 
Kfoiqffis, 44, 47, 162. 

Leo III., Emperor, first of the 
Isaurians, 5 ; his wars, 6. 

Leo IV., Emperor (Khazar), his 
reign and policy, 26. 

Leo, son of Constantine VI., 56, 
63, 109. 

Leo V., his accession and char 
acter, 138 seq. ; iconoclastic 
policy, 140 seq. ; character of his 
persecution, 170 seq. ; murdered 
in chapel, 185. 

Leo III., Pope ; his accession and 
troubles in Rome, 96 ; his resto 
ration by Charles, 96; crowns 
Charles, 97 ; Theodore s corre 
spondence with, 124 seq. sanc 
tions treaty between Charles and 
Michael, 133. 

Leo IX., Pope, 263. 

Leontius, made head of Studium 

and Saccudio, 175. 
Lewis the Pious, Emperor, 182, 

202 seq., 206, 261. 
Libri Carolini, The, 46. 

MAGNAURIA, palace of, 257. 

Manichseism, 106, 153, 164, 206. 

Manuel, uncle of Empress Theodora, 
256 seq. 

Maria, first wife of Constantine 
VI., 40, 55, 109, 114. 

Marianus the Spatharius, 211. 

Maunde-Thompson, Sir E., 233 seq. 

Mermentulus, Abbot of Studium t 
265 seq. 

Methodius, Patriarch, 257, 267. 

Metopa in North Phrygia, 145, 

Meyer, Ph., on the Monasteries of 
Mount Athos, 33. 

Michael the Monk, biographer of 
Theodore, 29. 

Michael I., Emperor (Rhangabe), 
crowned, 128; character of his 
government, 1 30 seq. ; negotia 
tions with Charles, 134 seq. ; 
disastrous war, 137; deposition, 


Michael II., the Amorian, or the 
Stammerer, Emperor, 109; his 
accession, 185; liberates the 
monks, 187 ; his attempts at com 
promise, 189 seq. ; marries Euph- 
rosyne, 194; successful against 
Thomas, 198 seq. ; his unsuccess 
ful wars, 20 1 ; his letter to Lewis 
the Pious, 202 seq. ; death, 254. 

Michael III. (the Drunken), 256. 

Michael, Ambassador, 99. 

Michael Celularius, Patriarch of 
Constantinople, 264. 

Minuscule hand, Studite develop 
ment of, 232. 

Moechianic heresy, 124. 

Monophysitism, 10, 69, 154. 

Mortogon, King of Bulgarians, 1 39. 



NAUCRATIUS, disciple and friend of 
Theodore, 175, 176, 220, 221, 
266 seq. 

Nestorianism, 10, 69, 154. 

Nicaea, Second Council of, 43 seq., 
150, 203. 

Nicephorus, Emperor, circum 
stances of his accession, 103 seq. 
negotiations with Charles, 107 
seq. ; befriends Constantino VI., 
1 08 ; consults Studites about 
Patriarchate, no; appoints 
Nicephorus, 112; his general 
ecclesiastical policy, 115 seq. his 
death, 128. 

Nicephorus, Patriarch ; his ap 
pointment and earlier career, 
112; resistance to Emperor in 
controversy regarding Joseph, 
1 1 6 seq. ; distrusted by Theodore, 
121 ; crowns Michael L, 128; 
makes peace with Studites, 129 ; 
relation to Rome, 134; urges 
peace with Bulgarians, 135 ; 
Crowns Leo V., 138 ; opposes 
Iconoclasm of Leo. V., 140 seq. ; 
deposed, 144 ; Theodore s letter 
to, 146; visited by Theodore, 
190 ; Theodore s influence over, 


Nicephorus, kinsman of Theodore, 

57 seq. 

Nicetas, minister of Irene, 102. 
Nicetas Pectoratus, Studite, 264. 
Nicetas, Pnefect of Sicily, 100. 
Nicetas, Theodore in custody of, 

Nicolas, pupil of Theodore, 71, 170 

seq., 231, 267 seq. 
Nicolas I., Pope, 260 seq. 
Nissen on Eastern Monasticism, 33. 

OFFA of Mercia, alive at birth of 

Theodore, 4. 
Orthodoxy Sunday, 258. 

PARIS Council (or Collatio) of, 204. 
Paschal I., Pope, 182 seq., 203 seq. 

Paul the Patriarch, 26, 27. 

Photinus, father of Theodore, 15, 
22 ; his brothers, 30. 

Photius, Patriarch, 19, 259 seq., 

Pippin I., King of the Franks, his 
career, 5. 

Pippin, son of Charles the Great, 

Pitra, Cardinal, 236 seq. 

Plato, uncle of Theodore, his early 
career, 16 ; forsakes the world, 
25, 26 ; returns to Constanti 
nople, 27 ; life as Abbot of 
Saccudio, 31 seq.; attitude to 
Tarasius after Council of Nicsea, 
45 ; causes Theodore s ordina 
tion and election as Abbot of 
Saccudio, 48, 51 ; consulted as 
to Constantino s second mar 
riage, 57 ; persecuted, 58 seq. ; 
letter to him from Theodore, 
59-62 ; at Studium, 66 ; his 
hand-writing, 77, 230 ; consulted 
as to Patriarchate, no; subse 
quent sufferings, 113; impri 
soned and exiled, 122 ; his 
return to Studium, death, and 
burial, 129, 221. 

Princes, Island of, 104, 123, 194, 
196, 221. 

Procopia, wife of Michael I., 135, 

UpoaKuvrjais distinguished from 

Aarpela, 44, 47, 162. 
Prota Island of, 196. 
Pulcheria, daughter of Theophilus, 

255 seq. 

RAVENNA taken by Lombards and 

then by Franks, 5. 
Romanus, hymnographer, 240. 
Rothrud, daughter of Charles the 

Great, betrothed to Constantine 

VI, 39- 

SABAS of Studium, 45, 60, 69. 
Saccudio, 31, 51, 58, 64, 66. 



Saracens repelled from Constanti 
nople by Leo III., 6; wars with, 
54,63,66, 118, 136,201, 255. 

Sicily, affairs of, 100, 107, 201. 

Simeon the Abbot, 121. 

Simeon the Monk, 121. 

Sissinius, 99, 103. 

Smyrna, 173. 

Stauracius, Emperor, 109, 114, 128. 

Stauracius, correspondent of Theo 
dore, 210. 

Stauracius, Patrician and Logo- 
thete, 43, 53 seq., 66, 102. 

Stephen, Imperial Secretary, 57 

Studium, Monastery of, its extant 
ruins, i ; its position in Church 
History, 2 ; Theodore made Ab 
bot of, 66 ; its early history, 67 
seq. ; reformed rule under Theo 
dore, 70 seq. ; seized by forces of 
Nicephorus, 122; Theodore s re 
turn to, 197; service in copying 
of manuscripts, 231 seq. ; after 
Theodore s death, 257 ; visited 
by Papal Legates, 264 ; character 
and influence, 266 seq. 

Studius, founder of Studium, 67 

TARASIUS, made Patriarch of Con 
stantinople, 27; correspondence 
with Hadrian I., 40 seq. ; his part 
in Council of Nicaea,, 42 seq. ; 
ordains Theodore, 48 ; behaviour 
as to Emperor s second marriage, 
55 seq. ; his friendly relations 
with Emperor Nicephorus, 105 ; 
death of, 109 ; his tomb visited 
by Michael I., 137. 

Thaddseus, Studite martyr, 176. 

Themes, 171 seq. 

Theoctista, mother of Theodore, 
her character and early life, 15 
seq. ; her household rule, 16, 17 ; 
freedom from superstition, 25 ; 
adopts monastic life, 27 seq., 34 ; 
meets exiles, 60 ; her death, 129. 

Theoctista, mother-in-law of Em 
peror Theophilus, 196, 255 seq. 

Theoctistus, Abbot of Symboli, 25 

Theoctistus (Abbot), recalcitrant 
after Nicsea, 45. 

Theoctistus Magister, 121. 

Theoctistus the Hermit, 219. 

Theodora, Empress, wife of Theo 
philus, 218, 255 seq. 

Theodore of Studium, his birth, 
3; his biographies, 14, 29; his 
parents, 1 5 seq. ; his literary 
education, 17 seq. ; early life in 
Constantinople, 23 seq. ; life in 
or near Saccudio, 31 seq. ; or 
dained priest, 48 ; Abbot of 
Saccudio, 51 ; conduct as to 
Emperor s second marriage : ne 
gotiations and first exile, 57 
seq. ; persecution : letter to Plato, 
58 seq. ; his recall, 64 ; his atti 
tude to Irene, 65 ; migrates from 
Saccudio to Studium, 66 ; his 
reforms at Studium and order of 
life he established there, 70 seq. 
writes panegyrical letter to Irene, 
105 ; consulted by Emperor Nice 
phorus on Patriarchate, iio; 
writes to Nicephorus on Church 
and State, no seq. ; imprisoned 
and released, 113; part in con 
troversy respecting Joseph, 117 
seq. ; exiled a second time, 123; 
correspondence with Pope Leo 
III., 124 seq. ; return, 128; his 
influence under Michael I., op 
poses treaty with Bulgarians, 
135 seq. ; takes the lead against 
Iconoclasm, 143 seq. ; his Palm 
Sunday procession and conse 
quent exile, 145 ; his letters of 
encouragement, 145 seq. ; his 
writings against Iconoclasm, 148- 
168 ; sufferings and activity 
during his Third Exile, 170 seq. ; 
letters, 174-184 ; rejoicings at 
death of Leo V., 185 ; efforts for 
reinstatement of monks, 188 seq. ; 



returns to neighbourhood of Con 
stantinople, 190; rejects compro 
mise, 192 ; in Studium again, 197 
seq. ; writes to Emperors, 200 ; 
retires to Crescentius and Acrita, 
200 ; reference to decision of 
Synod of Paris, 205 ; his private 
correspondence, 208-220 ; makes 
his Testament, 220 ; his death, 
221 ; translation, 221 ; general 
estimate of his character and 
work, 221 seq. ; his correspond 
ence with Casia, 226 seq. ; his ser 
vices to calligraphy, 230-234 ; his 
poetry, 234-252 ; his posthumous 
influence, 253 seq. ; commemo 
rated on Orthodoxy Sunday, 258 ; 
his Commemoration in 1054, 
266; his published works, 271- 

Theodore, the Hospitalarius, 212. 

Theodosia, wife of Leo V., 196. 

Theodosius of Alexandria, 238. 

Theodote, second wife of Constan 
tino VI., 55. 

Theodotus Cassiteras, Patriarch, 
141, 144. 

Theophanes the Chronicler, 13, 19, 
51, 55, 65, 1 06, 124. 

Theophilus, Ambassador, 99. 

Theophilus, Emperor, 200, 252 seq., 
256, 258, 261. 

Theophylactus, son of Michael I., 

Thera, volcanic eruption in, 7. 

Thessalonica, Theodore in, 61. 

Thomas, Rebellion of, 197 seq. 

Thrace, invasion of by Bul 
garians, 6, 135. 

Troparius and Hirmus, 238 seq. 

VENICE, 107, 125, 132. 

YEZID, Caliph, opposes images, 7. 

ZENO, Emperor, 69. 


Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON <&* Oo. 
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Scholarly, London. Bond Street, London, W., 

October, 1905. 

Mr. Edward Arnold s 

List of New Books. 




Demy Svo. 155. net. 

From one point of view, this volume may be regarded as a state 
ment of Lord Goschen s economic creed ; from another, it is a 
survey of all the most important economic aspects of our history 
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Completeness and finality has been given to the record here 
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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 


an account of ^Exploration in Central Ctbet, 1903, ant) of tbe 
(Bartofc jEjpeDition, 1904*1905. 



Demy 8vo. With Illustrations and Maps. 155. net. 

Captain C. G. Rawling, with one English companion, accom 
plished in 1903 a remarkable journey through North- West Tibet, 
penetrating far into the interior and surveying over 38,000 square 
miles of hitherto unknown country. Great hardships were en 
countered and difficulties overcome. When the explorers attempted 
to enter the sacred town of Rudok they were captured by the 
Tibetans, and forced to make a long detour in order to reach British 

On his return to India, Captain Rawling joined the Tibet Expedi 
tion, and immediately after the signing of the Lhasa treaty was 
despatched by Sir F. Younghusband to Gartok. The account of his 
journey through an absolutely unknown country is full of interest. 
At Shigatse, the largest town in Tibet, the highest officials and 
ecclesiastics were visited and the monasteries and forts explored. 
The Brahmapootra was traced to its source, and both the holy 
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returned to Simla through Gartok and the Indus and Sutlej valleys. 

The photographs with which the book is illustrated are of quite 
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The author, whose book With Rimington will be remembered 
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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 


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Few men probably know their Norway better than Sir Henry 
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writer are combined with the happiest effect. Whether the subject 
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a IRarratfve of tbe JBritisb National Bntarctfc BjpeDltlon. 



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4 Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 


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The author is exceptionally qualified for the task of writing these 
volumes by her own acquaintance with Brahms, begun when she 
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G.C.B., G.C.M.G., 


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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 5 


JSeing Xetters to a /ifcan of ;fi3usfHess, 1728=4751. 


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6 Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 






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Xife as tbeg finD it in Gown anfc Country 

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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 7 


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Lord Hobhouse, who died in December, 1904, abandoned in 
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8 Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 




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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 


The following five volumes are the new additions to this useful 
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Foolscap Svo., is. net per volume, paper ; 2s. net cloth. 


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JEWELLERY. By ROBERT ELWARD, Author of On Collect 
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In this volume the author pursues the same thorough method as in his former 
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intending purchasers or lessees from innumerable pitfalls. 

io Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 

THE WALLET SERIES (continued). 
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The following volumes have been already published : 




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Edited by RICHARD HARRIS, K.C., 


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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books n 


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12 Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 




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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 13 





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14 Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 


By A. P. BEDDARD, M.A., M.D., 




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Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 15 


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Valve gears are considered in this book from two points of view, 
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1 6 Mr. Edward Arnold s List of New Books 


Bn& tbe principles of Surgery for Ifturses. 




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By R. WILSON, B.A., 


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This book is intended for teachers who wish to keep themselves 
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